Election official: 'Everybody thought they should be able to vote' in Myrtle Beach races

Election official: 'Everybody wanted to vote in everybody’s election Tuesday' (Sydney Glenn/WPDE)

This next Tuesday, thousands will flock to the polls to vote for the next Mayor of Myrtle Beach in a special runoff election.

Incumbent Mayor John Rhodes and challenger Brenda Bethune will face off on Nov. 21.

But, despite interest in the election, the question of who is eligible to vote seemed to be the most popular topic last week.

On election day, several people called the Horry County Elections Commission Office confused about why they were not eligible to vote in the mayoral race, Sandy Martin said.

"This is such a big county and the Myrtle Beach address has such a wide area that it covers, everybody thinks that if they live or they have a Myrtle Beach city address that they are eligible to vote in the Myrtle Beach City Election. That was our biggest complaint [on] election day. Everybody thought they should be able to vote," the director of Registration and Elections for Horry County said.

If you do not live within the city limits, you will not be eligible to vote in Myrtle Beach City elections. Martin said she thinks the election commission staff answered that question more than 50 times on Election Day.

"We tell them, you don’t pay city taxes, you don’t live in the city, you don’t get any of their amenities, so you’re not allowed to vote in their city election. If you want to vote, move into the city limits and then, yes, you’ll be entitled to. As long as you live in the county portion, you are not entitled to vote in the city election," she said.

RELATED: Myrtle Beach mayoral race heading to a runoff

Monday night, community leaders gathered to encourage people who can vote, to do so. The "Get Out The Vote" event took place at Mary C. Canty Recreation Center.

One of the organizers, Bennie Swans, said there is nothing more important in America than people's right to vote.

"We want them to know that people died so they would have the right to vote. We want them to know that people marched, had their head bludgeoned for the right to vote. So, when we see an election day that goes by and our numbers are not as strong as they should [be], then we are deeply concerned," he said.

Swans said, even if you can't vote in the runoff election, encourage the people who can to head to the polls. Myrtle Beach is the driving force of economics in this area, he said.

"We need to knock on every door… touch on every shoulder and encourage our people to get out and vote," Swans said.

RELATED: With no presidential race, fewer people expected to head to the polls this election season

If you want change, you need to let your voice be heard, Swans said.

"Everybody has or wants to have a say in what happens and how it happens. The only way to make that happen is by casting a vote," he said.

WPDE will be hosting a live debate with the Myrtle Beach Mayoral Candidates on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. Click here for more information.

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