Still some hope for candidates removed from June Primary ballots

  • Saturday, May 5, 2012

What seemed to be official this morning may no longer be official.
 As reported earlier today, two candidates for local offices have been removed from the June Republican Primary ballot because they did not properly file State Ethics Commission disclosure forms at the time they filed to run for office.
Rod Stalvey, a candidate for County Auditor, and Clerk of Court candidate Tammie Avant, both Republicans, were disqualified, according to County Party Chairman Jim Jerow.
Earlier this week, the State Supreme Court ruled if candidates did not file a statement of economic interest when they filed to run for office, they will not appear on the ballot.
However, this afternoon it was announced  the state Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a special meeting Tuesday to discuss and propose legislation aimed at allowing candidates affected by the Court decision back on the ballot.
The emergency session was called by Judiciary Chairman Larry Martin.
A joint resolution introduced by Senator Kevin Bryant and others would give candidates who filed the rest of their paperwork on time to have an additional 12-hour period to provide their Statements of Economic Interest to political party officials in order to complete their filing requirements and preserve a spot on the ballot.
“I don’t fault the Supreme Court for their decision, but clearly there is a deficiency in the law if so many people were adversely affected by these requirements,” Senator Martin said. “Our democratic process should not be derailed by what amounts to a technicality. People across South Carolina deserve a chance to vote for those who made a good faith effort to comply with the law, particularly when they had every reason to believe they would appear on the ballot. The General Assembly needs to step in quickly and rectify what I believe would be a real disservice to voters if allowed to stand.”
The Court decision was expected to impact more than a hundred candidates statewide.
State GOP Chairman Matt Moore says he is “ sad about this week’s candidate filing rulings, but am committed to following the S.C. Supreme Court’s instructions. Our party has meticulously analyzed the filing submissions in compliance with the standards set forth by the Court.”
Jerow said he is “disappointed in the process” that led to the disqualification.
“The Ethics Commission and the Legislature need to reevaluate the candidate process. There needs to be a (filing) grace period and the instructions need to be more clear,” Jerow said.
Stalvey said Friday he has already contacted an attorney and will pursue any legal avenues that are available.
“I will fight this,” Stalvey said. “This is a terrible terrible thing and it shows a major flaw in the ability to elect people to office. When appointed judicial officials get involved in electing people to office, this is what happens.”
Stalvey says he was told during a recent telephone call with the State Ethics Commission that his filing was OK. He said he was also told the party leaders in each county would make the final decisions, so he was surprised when he was determined to be ineligible to run in the primary.
“The Georgetown County Republican Party did not follow the letter of the law either and only two people have been thrown under the bus,” Stalvey said.
Stalvey said, if need be, he will run as an Independent.
“I am going to run,” he said.

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