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Elgin may move elections to November

Also, town council hears VisionKershaw 2030 presentation

Posted: September 3, 2015 5:08 p.m.
Updated: September 4, 2015 1:00 a.m.
Tenell Felder/C-I

Santee-Lynches Council of Governments Regional Planner Matt Manley speaks to Elgin Town Council and residents during a VisionKershaw 2030 presentation at Tuesday’s council meeting.

The town of Elgin may move its elections from February to November in 2017.

Tuesday night, Kershaw County Voter Registration Director John Caughman told Elgin Town Council during its August meeting it should consider moving its election date to conform to an anticipated election and referendum date standardization bill moving through the South Carolina legislature.

“The state election commission, in conjunction with the General Assembly, is working to move all municipal elections to the first Tuesday after the first Monday in the odd years. We think the legislature is close to doing this. We are encouraging council and Elgin to go ahead and decide to preemptively move your election to a November date instead of the February (date) in 2017,” Caughman said. 

Caughman said he thinks changing the election date would be positive.

“I think it would be beneficial to the voters. When you think about elections, you think November. Bethune already has theirs in November. What we would like is for all municipalities in Kershaw to be together. People would get that notion in mind, it’s an odd year, it’s November, I’ve got an election coming,” Caughman said.

The move would extend council members’ terms from Feb. 2017 to Nov. 17 or Feb. 2019 to Nov. 2019.

Caughman also advised council to standardize a filing period. 

“It would be noon of August 1 to noon of August 15. If those dates fall on a weekend, it would go into noon of the following Monday,” Caughman said. 

Caughman also reminded residents at Tuesday’s meeting to complete their voter registrations 30 days prior to the Republican Primary. The Republican Primary will be held on Feb. 20, 2017, and the Democratic Primary will be held the following Saturday.

“It is also really important -- anybody that’s moved, changed their name or address -- now is the time to get your information updated,” Caughman said. “I tell people that election day is a very bad day to have an address problem. If you are in Elgin and you have a problem and have to get to the office … you don’t want to find yourself 30 minutes before the cut off that you have to run all the way to Camden to get something straightened out. So spread the word and make sure your information is updated.” 

Caughman also said people should make sure their information has been received by the Election Commission if they chose to register through the S.C. Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). 

“A lot of people now are doing their registration and updates through the DMV. Unfortunately, we don’t always get that paperwork and if we do not get that paperwork we cannot make the change for you. So it’s very important that you check -- you can do this online with You can update your registration online if it matches your driver’s license registration. You can do it all online, there are a lot of great resources there,” Caughman said.

Caughman told council the election commission is also considering opening new voting locations.

“Currently you have 980 registered voters in Elgin. As you know, we currently use town hall (to vote). We are going to be looking at whether we will open up more locations for you and make things easier on your voters,” Caughman said.

Also Tuesday, council heard a presentation from VisionKershaw 2030, during which the town learned it could experience “exponential” growth during the next 15 years from Richland County.

Kershaw County Council Chairman Julian Burns introduced the presentation, saying council and residents VisionKershaw 2030’s goal is to create a county vision which can be transferred to an understandable document.

“Growth is coming to us at a constant rate,” Burns said. “In about two to three months, we are going to come back and let you look at a product. Mark it up, debate it, because there (will be) some things in there you wont like and others you will want to make sure are in there. We will have that discussion as a county and as a team.”

Attendees discussed the potential growth and its possible impact on Elgin. Kyle Kelly, economic and community sustainability director for the Santee-Lynches Council of Governments, said the residents’ feedback will be used in creating goals and strategies for the county.

“Our job in this process is to work on collecting information input, looking at studies and research that is out here on other sources and working with a steering group to come up with the readable plan Councilman Burns mentioned,” Kelly said.

During new business, Elgin Zoning Administrator Randy Pruitt recommended Craig Miezejeski for the Zoning Board of Appeals. Councilman Brad Hanley asked for time for council to review the application. Mayor Melissa Emmons agreed, asking Miezejeski to return for September’s meeting. Emmons also noted there will be one additional seat open afterward.

Also, council granted Elgin Police Chief Harold Brown authority to purchase a surveillance camera. Council asked Brown to purchase a high quality camera.

“If we are looking at using this for court, it needs to be good clarity with good sound,” Councilman Ed Smith said.

In other business:

• The revised minutes from council’s July 7 meeting, the minutes from council’s August 4 meeting and the minutes from the August 11 workshop were accepted. “This is a new procedure we decided to be put in place. It makes it much easier to see what takes place at the workshops,” Emmons said of approving workshop minutes.

• Council passed first reading for the Town of Elgin Stormwater Management Ordinance. Councilwoman Dana Sloan asked for an error with the page numbers of the ordinance be corrected. Council noted the error and accepted the change.

• Two new business license applications were submitted in August: Trading Post of 2468B Main St., Elgin and Carolina Fire Safety of 1908 Rosewood Drive, Columbia

• Council passed first reading for a Technology Use Policy which outlines guidelines for emails, social media, use of technology, software and other issues.



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