More than 100 candidates in June primary races across the state, including one in Fairfield County, will not be allowed on the ballot because of incomplete and tardy paperwork.
The S.C. Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that candidates who did not file proper disclosure forms with their signatures back in March cannot appear on the June primary ballots.
Under a new system, the economic interest documents, called a Statement of Economic Interest (SEI) were supposed to be filed online with the state Ethics Commission, but the parties did not check for them. The forms include information about income and other financial information.
Last month, two Lexington County residents sued the state Republican and Democratic parties and the South Carolina Election Commission, saying several candidates for state House and Senate seats did not properly file statements of economic interests.
State law requires that statements of economic interest — a transparency measure which lists a candidate’s job, salary, property and other financial information — should be filed at the same time as a candidate’s declaration of candidacy. The court ruled on Wednesday that political parties should not have accepted one without the other, and that candidates who didn’t submit their statements by the March 30 filing deadline will be left off the June primary ballot.
“We fully appreciate the consequences of our decision, as lives have been disrupted and political aspirations put on hold,” justices wrote. “However, the conduct of the political parties in their failure to follow the clear and unmistakable directives of the General Assembly has brought us to this point.”
Where does that leave both Democratic and Republican candidates running for local State House District 41 and State Senate Seat 17?
“None of the Democratic candidates here got caught up with that,” said Fairfield County Democratic Party Treasurer Norma Branham. “I checked everyone to make sure.”
“Republican candidates William Gray, S.C.House 41 and Bob Carrison, S.C. Senate 17, both filed a Statement of Intention of Candidacy with a Statement of Economic Interests (SEI) before the March 30, 2012 deadline; therefore they will appear on the ballot,” said Kevin S. Thomas, Chairman of the Fairfield County Republican Party, after the S.C. Supreme Court ruling. “Although Morgan Bruce Reeves started the online process of filing his Statement of Economic Interest, he did not submit the SEI at the time he submitted his Statement of Intention of Candidacy. It appears he will not remain on the ballot.”
Both parties are required to submit a full list of candidates who met the deadline on time.by noon on Friday, May 4 to the S.C. Election Commission.