Attorneys for Horry County vs. Town of Atlantic Beach argued their case before the Horry County Magistrate Thursday and they will meet again next week. Judge Brad Mayers did not rule on the case and decided to continue it until next Wednesday morning. The court will hear from someone at the State Election Commission and Atlantic Beach also plans to call a witness.
Attorney for Atlantic Beach Kenneth Davis filed a motion for the county to return its property to Atlantic Beach for use as evidence. The judge took it into consideration. This comes after Horry County Sheriff’s deputies seized county-owned voting machines Tuesday which the town held in its evidence room for weeks a month and a half after its Nov. 1 municipal election.
Mayor Retha Pierce said Atlantic Beach police confiscated $7,500 worth of machines to do an investigation into fraud and abnormalities during the elections. “My understanding is when a crime is committed that authorities have the right to deal with that crime,” Pierce said. “You’re sending my people here a mixed signal in Atlantic Beach when all of the sudden you say that when a crime is committed and the property belongs to the county and you can overlook the crime.”
A court order signed by Summary Court Judge Bradley Mayers of Horry County Monday gave approval for the sheriff to seize and secure the county property. Court documents show that a Horry County attorney made several attempts to get Atlantic Beach to return the equipment.
“We wonder what is the urgency? Just like we heard from the manufacturer of the machine that was not used in any election because it was discarded in Florida in 2006,” Pierce said. “Then to have the machine end up in Atlantic Beach where we’re known to have irregularities and things going on with the voting process that should not, is definitely questionable.”
In an email to a county attorney, town manager Bennie Webb wrote that the machines would not be given up without a review of the machines by an expert.