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Special election to fill Dorton seat set for Sept. 18

Posted: August 14, 2012 7:15 p.m.
Updated: August 15, 2012 5:00 a.m.

The Kershaw County Board of Elections voted Tuesday to hold a special election September 18 to fill the unexpired term of late School Board of Trustees member Joey Dorton.

The election board unanimously decided 6-0 to establish the date as well as to open up the filing period for the seat beginning Friday through Aug. 31. Election Board Chairman Judy Brock was absent from the meeting.

Dorton was set to run unopposed for District 3 on school board, but died in a single-car collision Aug. 1.

Election Board Vice Chairman Thoyd Warren said no particular guidelines or precedents were in place to help the group make the decision.

“From all the discussions we’ve had over the last week or so, I don’t think there is any kind of case or law that tells you what exactly to do. So it all seems to go back into our hands,” Warren explained.  

Warren indicated that the time frame in place should help ensure the process is completed in an appropriate and timely fashion. 

“That gives us about two weeks for campaigning, all of that stuff. It also gives us enough time to get everything in for the November election,” he said.

Warren said that if a candidate doesn’t get “at least 50 percent plus one” of the vote, then the top two vote getters will appear be the November general election ballot.

Kershaw County Asst. Voter Registration Director James Fitzpatrick said the board’s decision sets a “firm date” that doesn’t require any additional confirmation.

“We’re not waiting to hear back from anyone. That’s what the commission decided and that’s what they’re going to go with,” Fitzpatrick said.   

He also noted that the filing and election period will make sure absentee voters receive their ballots on time.

“We plan on having the election then so that we can have it all done 45 days before the general election,” Fitzpatrick said. “We have to send out ballots to people overseas and the military by Sept. 21. That’s federal law under UOCAVA (Unified and Overseas Citizens Absentee Ballot Act).

He explained that some voting locations may have to be changed due to Kershaw County schools being in session Sept. 18. Any changes, however, will be announced before the election.

District 3 covers the following voting precincts: Elgin No. 2 and 4; Lugoff No. 1 and 3; Rabon’s Crossroads; and Salt Pond. Elgin Precincts No. 2 and 4 and Lugoff No. 1 and 3 currently have polling locations designated in local schools.

Fitzpatrick said the voter registration office is waiting for feedback from the Kershaw County School District before setting any potentially new polling places.

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