Horry County ballot still unsettled days before primary

Tuesday's ruling from the SC Supreme Court regarding primary candidates who hadn't properly filed economic disclosure papers has eliminated at least one candidate in Horry County.

House District 105 Republican candidate Blake Hewitt told NewsChannel 15 Wednesday he was informed by an attorney representing the state GOP that he has been decertified. Hewitt was the only District 105 Republican who survived the first Supreme Court ruling May 2 that resulted in nearly 200 candidates statewide being removed from the primary ballot, including more than a dozen candidates from Horry County. Among those disqualified under that ruling were five other Republicans from District 105. Now that Hewitt is also decertified, it appears there will be no District 105 GOP candidate on the November ballot. Hewitt told NewsChannel 15 he will not do a petition drive to appear on the ballot as an independent.

Bert von Herrmann, one of those who were ousted in May, has said he will run as a petition candidate.

There are no Democrats running for the District 105 seat.

In Tuesday's Supreme Court decision, justices ruled that Florence County Republicans incorrectly certified candidates who hadn't properly filed economic disclosure papers.

Florence County Democrats accused the GOP of not following the court's May 2 ruling that candidates must submit proof they've filed financial paperwork at the same time they file candidacy documents.

The court warned other counties Tuesday that they ignore the justice's earlier ruling "at their own peril."

Horry County's election director, Sandy Martin, said she was waiting to hear from state officials about what the county should do if more candidates are de-certified.

"There'll be some guidance from the State Election Commission. There'll be something done statewide, procedures put in place to handle that," Martin said. "I'm sure we'll have to put signs up alerting the voters not to cast a ballot for that person."

Martin said she would take direction from the State Election Commission about how to proceed, but from the county election office's perspective, the June 12 ballot can't be changed.

"We have mailed absentee ballots to anybody that has requested them. Ballots on the voting machines are finished and we're actually delivering machines, so we've got everything in place."

Martin said she expects questions from voters at many polling places for the June 12 primary. Many campaign yard signs for candidates de-certified by the earlier Supreme Court ruling haven't been removed.

"We've already had some calls from a lot of voters that have seen campaign signs from different candidates that are not going to be on the ballot for June," she said. "So we hope that when voters go to the polls on Tuesday, that if those candidates' names aren't on the ballot, it doesn't confuse them."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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