A three-judge panel will meet next week to consider delaying South Carolina’s June 12 primaries in the wake of a state Supreme Court decision that removed nearly 200 candidates from ballots. U.S. District Judge Cameron Currie heard arguments Thursday from an attorney for Amanda Somers, who says her candidacy was thrown into question after justices ruled financial- and candidate-intent paperwork must be filed at the same time. Since Somers was ultimately allowed on the ballot, Currie questioned her ability to sue. The judge allowed a state Senate candidate from Edgefield who was tossed off, Republican John Pettigrew, to join the suit. While disregarding several arguments, Currie said allegations the state violated the Voting Rights Act in sending separate ballots overseas for federal and local races may have merit.
Currie called Somers’ attorney Todd Kincannon’s claims overly broad. “I believe he thinks the federal court can fix this problem and he’s sorely mistaken,” she said. Among his arguments, Kincannon contends election officials broke federal law that requires them to send ballots overseas by 45 days before an election, to ensure military service members’ votes are counted.
Commission attorney Elizabeth Crum said that law applies only to federal races, none of which were affected by the Supreme Court decision on financial paperwork. In this year’s primaries, the only federal elections in South Carolina are the state’s seven U.S. House races. The U.S. Justice Department knew state officials were only putting federal offices on the ballots for military and overseas voters and did not object, Crum said. Crum said those ballots were mailed out by April 28, and a second round of ballots were sent overseas after the state Republican and Democratic parties turned in their list of re-certified candidates last Friday. However, she noted, some counties are still disagreeing over which candidates properly filed, and those have yet to be mailed.
Full Article: Federal judges could decide to delay SC primaries.