Lawsuit filed over Atlantic Beach Election

The controversy continued in Atlantic Beach Friday night, as an election protest hearing was held because some said Tuesday night's election was illegal.

On Tuesday, the town voted in two new council members- Lenearl Evans and Ken McLaurin, to fill two open council seats formerly filled by Carolyn Cole and Windy Price.

Both Cole and Price ran as write-ins this election, and this week, they filed a lawsuit to overturn the election, saying the whole thing was illegal.

It all started back in October, when Patricia Bellamy, who claims to be the Municipal Election Commissioner for the town, declared Carolyn Cole and Windy Price had won re-election of their town council seats, because they were the only two who filed to run with her.

Bellamy's Municipal Election Commission, however, has not been recognized by the town for nearly three months, but she says they were never formally dismissed.

The town recognized the Municipal Election Commission which is right now made up of Joe Montgomery, Carolyn Gore and Kenneth McIver.

The lawsuit didn't come as a surprise to Montgomery.

"We expected this even before the election. It's a pattern. These two candidates, it's a pattern. The write in candidates. It's a pattern. They have done this for a number of years, so we expected it," Montgomery said.

On Friday night, Price, Cole, and Bellamy battled it out with Montgomery and the rest of the Municipal Election Commission at the protest hearing regarding the election, but the commission unanimously voted to keep the results as-is.

"Do you think we walked in there this evening expecting them to overturn themselves? They're illegal, you going to admit it? Of course not," Bellamy said.

Cole said it's all part of Montgomery's master plan.

"I think it's a part of the whole election fraud scheme," Cole said.

The main argument brought up tonight was why both Cole and Price ran as write-ins in an election they believed was illegal.

"The one thing you don't want to have happen to you while you're trying to navigate some uncharted legal territory, is you don't want to be told you don't have standing," Cole said.

Cole also added that once this situation gets resolved,

"When we get that part straight, then I think that Horry County and North Myrtle Beach, hopefully from legitimate positions where they're clear with who they're dealing with and what we're talking about, start to negotiate and put some things together to put this exploratory committee together and see if we can consolidate and make things better for Atlantic Beach," Cole said.

As of Friday night WPDE NewsChannel 15 was still waiting to hear back from the state election commission to see if they're planning to get involved in the situation.