In Williamsburg County, seven candidates may be running by petition come the November election. Some 200 candidates statewide were booted off the primary election ballot in the wake of a 2010, online filing requirement.
In order for a candidate’s name to appear on the election ballot he or she must file a Statement of Intention of Candidacy (SIC) and a Statement of Economic Interest (SEI) at the same time with the same authorized official.
All but one challenger filled out the SIC and SEI reports, however some candidates either filed the SEI report after the April 15, deadline or did not turn in both simultaneously when they filed with their respective party. Cleveland Randy Grayson, Sr., who is running for Williamsburg County Sheriff, did not complete the SEI report. Sharon W. Staggers and William Robbie Morris properly filed their documents.
“The first thing Democratic Party Chairman George Brown told me was “Do this on the Internet” and he said you had to have those receipts,” said Morris who is running for Williamsburg County Council District 3 seat. “As a matter of fact, when I went there, I didn’t have it, and had to go back home, get it and come back. That was on the last day. But I also read the instructions.”
Jeremiah Bryant argues he followed procedures but was still disqualified. Bryant, who is running for Williamsburg County Council District 4 seat, electronically submitted his SEI with the Election Commission on March 20, but claims when he filed his SIC with his party on March 23, he was informed by Chairman Brown that he had completed everything needed – even after he questioned Brown about submitting the SEI report. Under “Election Material” the South Carolina Ethics Commission clearly states, “In accordance with state law, it is the responsibility of the election/party official to inform every candidate of the electronic filing requirement for the Statement of Economic Interest form and for the Campaign Disclosure form.” If the form is not filed within the five days of the established deadline, fines are imposed. However, all is not lost. Those who may not be on the ballot in June can still run by petition in November. The deadline for petition candidates is July 16, at noon. To qualify, candidates must acquire five percent of the population in the district they are running. When a candidate turns in the completed petition to the election commission, he or she must also turn in a new SEI report at the same time.