Spartanburg County voters’ ability to vote in next year’s Republican presidential primary is in question. The county will not stage presidential primaries next year unless the county’s costs to run the contests are fully covered or the county is forced by the state to pay certain expenses, County Council Chairman Jeff Horton said Friday morning.
Horton’s pledge came after County Council, a body of six Republicans and one Democrat, voted unanimously to file a lawsuit against the state Election Commission if needed to keep the county from bearing any of the costs of a presidential primary.
Council members — along with the county’s top election official, the county election commission and voter registration board — believe counties should be reimbursed for all costs associated with a presidential primary. Horton has repeatedly called presidential primaries a “beauty pageant” because their results do not carry the weight of an actual election.
Horton and others’ position is that the state cannot force counties to hold presidential primaries, and is imposing an unfunded mandate by requiring counties to stage such contests without full reimbursement for county costs.
That view is shared by the board of directors of the South Carolina Association of Counties, a group that represents all 46 counties in the state.