Confusion Continues in Candidate Filings

By Paul Gable

It appears that confusion with the proper filing of a Statement of Economic Interests has found its way from the party nominating phase into the petition candidate phase of the current election cycle.

When several hundred candidates were forced from the primary election ballots due to filing their paperwork improperly, some chose to go the route of becoming petition candidates.

Horry County had the most candidates removed from the ballot for filing improperly and it also had the most petitions submitted by candidates.

In addition to filing a petition signed by at least five percent of the registered voters in the political district a candidate wishes to run in, the candidate was also required to file a current SEI. The filing was to be made to the local or state election commission depending upon what office was being sought.

Checking the filings by prospective Horry County petition candidates for a state government office, Grand Strand Daily noted an interesting anomaly in the filing by one candidate for a state House seat.

A total of seven candidates filed petitions and SEI’s with the state election commission for either House District 105 or House District 56.

According to copies of the SEI’s requested from the state election commission, six of those candidates, Kevin Hardee, Blake Hewitt, Mike Connett, Bill Wiegand, Bert von Hermann and Dennis DiSabato filed SEI’s for the year 2012. The seventh candidate, Mike Ryhal, filed an SEI for the year 2011.

Double checking the SEI copies received from the election commission with electronic records on file at the S.C. Ethics Commission verified that information.

Therefore, it appears that somebody filed improper paperwork. Either the six candidates who filed SEI’s for 2012 are in error or the one who filed an SEI for 2011 is. They can’t both be correct and also considered current.

In this election year of what seems to be never ending confusion, especially with the SEI, this is just the latest example of what appears to be errors in the filing procedure required by state law.


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