By Paul Gable
The South Carolina Senate moved quickly in this new session to clear up candidate election filing requirements so that, hopefully, another filing disaster, like the one that occurred for the 2012 general elections, will be avoided.
Under the new rules, incumbents and challengers both must file a Statement of Economic Interests electronically with the S.C. Ethics Commission prior to filing a Statement of Intention of Candidacy or Nomination for Petition.
A party executive committee may not accept a SIC unless the committee has verified that the candidate has electronically filed a SEI.
Additionally, filing times have been reduced. In order to qualify as a candidate, all persons seeking nomination by political party primary or political party nomination must file a SIC between noon March 23rd and noon March 30th. This provision cuts filing times by one week from the current law.
County executive committees must forward the SIC’s to the county election commission by noon on the fifth day following close of filing. This requirement is a reduction from the current 10 day period in state law.
The same rules apply for statewide candidates who file SIC’s with the state party, which are then forwarded to the state election commission.
The bill passed the Senate Judiciary Committee January 8, 2012 and now moves to the full Senate for debate. A similar bill has been pre-filed in the House.
This really is a simple fix that could have, and should have, been included in the 2010 bill, of which now Gov. Nikki Haley was a co-sponsor, that first changed SEI’s to electronic filing only.
Hopefully the General Assembly now understands it only takes a few more minutes to dot all the i’s and cross all the t’s to get a bill right the first time.