Voters should help petition candidates get on the ballot by signing petititons
While more than 250 candidates lost their places on the primary ballot statewide as a result of state Supreme Court rulings, only four so far have submitted petitions to the State Election Commission to get back on the general-election ballot in November.
Time grows short for the remainder of the candidates who hope to beat the July 16 noon deadline. Registered voters in every district should be willing to sign the petitions of candidates who are committed enough to make the effort — even if they are undecided about whom they will ultimately vote for.
Three candidates have already submitted petitions to run in House districts representing York, Sumter/Clarendon and Horry counties. A single candidate has done so for a Senate seat representing Horry County. Another 15 candidates are known to be working on petitions, says a spokesman for the State Election Commission, who acknowledged there are probably more who have yet to notify the state.
Locally, 20 candidates lost their places on the ballot because of the court rulings.
Petition efforts are under way by some of those local candidates, though the task is daunting. For example, Carol Tempel, who had planned to run as a Democrat for House District 115, so far has obtained about 1,300 signatures that cross-check with voter registration lists. She has another 200 to go to qualify for the ballot.
Ms. Tempel, a retired high school principal, has been walking door-to-door on James Island getting signatures. The task has been made more difficult by redistricting that shifted two predominately Democratic precincts on the island out of the district. The new district will include Kiawah and Seabrook Islands.
Most of the candidates lost their place on the ballot for failing to submit their economic disclosure forms when they filed as candidates. Ms. Tempel, in contrast, filed hers early — but electronically. The court ruled that the law required a paper form to be filed.
The form discloses any money received from government work and lists any close family members who work as lobbyists.
The court action had the effect of removing only challengers from the ballot, while leaving incumbents, who had the requisite forms already on file, undisturbed. That sad fact should encourage voters to help would-be petition candidates to get on the ballot as independents.
Voters shouldn’t be overly constrained by party affiliation as they help provide additional ballot choices in November.
It’s called making the best of a bad situation.