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The aftermath of the confusion on “Who will be on the ballot?” which was set off last week by a SC Supreme Court ruling has left only one candidate in Edgefield County off the ballot, and that is Betty Butler, Democrat running for County Council. Below is a short summary to bring readers up to date.
Both Democrat and Republican filing officers were given instructions which they followed. The one instruction that brought on the bumping off of some candidates was:
Statement of Economic Interests
This form is filled out electronically at www.ethics.sc.gov. This is a new requirement and a deal breaker for candidates. IF this form is not filled out by candidates by March 30 at noon, they will not appear on the ballot. Please recommend candidates print off a receipt of completion for proof.
Once filled out online, this form had to be handed back to the filing officer according to the Supreme Court; however it does not clearly say that and the officers did not instruct that and so candidates did not return the form to the officers. “Nowhere were they (candidates) instructed to bring that to us,” said Sam Crouch, the Dem. filing officer, on Monday morning. However, the candidates’ not returning it to the officer disqualified them, according to the Supreme Court.
Incumbents were exempt in that they have filed this statement in years past and a Statement of Economic Interests is already on file for them.
This confusion left a number of Republican and Democrat candidates disqualified. They are now back on, except for one (Ms. Butler), and that can be verified by the reader at the South Carolina Election Commission’s website: scvotes.org.
Democrat filing officer Sam Crouch stated the following: “The position of both state parties is if the candidate filed the State of Economic Interest online prior to filing the paper work with the filing officers, then they are prequalified (or exempt from the Supreme Court ruling).
According to Sam Crouch, Betty Butler did not file her statement of economic interests before filing with him.
Bettis Rainsford, Jr., the Republican filing officer (he is Vice Chairman of the Republican Party of the County and was in town at the time of the filings) sent this statement to Tricia Butler of the Voter Registration and Election Office: ”Notwithstanding the enormous confusion of the last several days in regards to the ballot issue, I need to add two names to the list of certified candidates that I presented to you yesterday. Pursuant to directions from the SC Republican Party I am to certify any candidate that filed a Statement of Economic interest prior to the beginning of filing, March 15th. Davis R. Parkman and William P. Smith filed their Statements of Economic Interest on March 12, 2012 at 3:18:53 PM and March 6, 2012 at 1:16:04 PM, respectively. Therefore, I attach hereto a new Certification Letter and Filing Confirmations for both candidates . . “
As noted, John Pettigrew, a Republican candidate for State Senate, was not named in Mr. Rainsford’s communication to Ms. Tricia Butler, but he is on the ballot. His statement, as to how he was placed back on the ballot, since he did not fill out the economic statement early enough, is, and we quote Mr. Pettigrew: “The State [Republican] Party certified me based on my attempt to provide the information at the time of filing.” He further noted that there is still discussion about candidates all over the state.