SULLIVAN’S ISLAND — Write-in ballots for mayor here will be counted in the May 7 election, which means voters will have an option to decide whether current Mayor Carl Smith will serve a third term.
Smith, who earlier said he was not seeking re-election, reversed his position last week and said he will be a write-in candidate. Mayor Pro-Tem Mike Perkis is the only mayoral candidate on the official ballot.
There has been some difference of opinion on the island about whether election law provides for write-ins to be counted. On Monday, the town Municipal Election Commission clarified the issue and ruled that write-ins will be tabulated for mayor and three Town Council seats.
Smith, who has served on council for nearly 30 years, said that he decided at first not to run for another four-year term as mayor but changed his mind because another candidate whom he thought would come forward for the office did not. Supporters asked him to be a write-in candidate, he said.
Perkis, an eight-year council veteran, said last week that he welcomed the competition.
At the brief commission meeting, the issue of counting write-in ballots was the only item on the agenda.
“What we wanted to do today is to assure the voters that the (write-in) votes will be counted,” said commission Chairwoman Robie Scott, who is community relations manager for The Post and Courier.
The commission also decided that write-ins would be counted for absentee ballots.
Smith cast the lone dissenting vote when Town Council OK’d a lease with the Charleston County School District for a new, much bigger elementary school.
He supports having a public vote on the size of the new 74,000-square-foot school, an issue that is winding its way through the courts. A judge recently declined to toss out a suit against the town brought by two islanders seeking the referendum.
Smith said the school size issue was a factor in his decision to enter the race as a write-in candidate.
Both candidates said they want to lead the town through issues such as the accreted beach management plan and the new Town Hall.