If you go
What: Municipal Election Commission special meetingWhen: 8 a.m. MondayWhere: 2050-B Middle St., Sullivan’s Island
SULLIVAN’S ISLAND — Write-in votes may play a big role in the May 7 election for mayor and three Town Council seats.
Mayor Carl Smith said Thursday that he will be a write-in contender for the town’s top political office. Smith will oppose Mayor Pro Tem Mike Perkis, who is the only official mayoral candidate on the ballot.
Some islanders have expressed concern about whether write-in votes will be counted. The Municipal Election Commission is holding a special meeting at 8 a.m. Monday to review write-in voting.
“We will discuss tabulating/counting the write-ins,” said commission Chairwoman Robie Scott, who is community relations manager for The Post and Courier.
Resident Joanne Winchester said the issue prompted her to contact the Charleston County Board of Elections and Voter Registration.
Patrick Lee, Board of Elections deputy director, said in an e-mail to Winchester that the Muncipal Election Commission is in charge of the election and will certify the results. The county prepares the ballots, equipment and voter registration list, he said.
Smith said he didn’t file as an official candidate for mayor because he had hoped that someone else would step forward as a contender for the position. Supporters asked him to be a write-in candidate, he said.
“It isn’t anything I solicited. There seems to be strong grassroots support,” he said.
His approach to the election is low key.
“I’m not out knocking on doors and putting together literature,” he said.
Perkis said he welcomes the competition.
“I think that’s great,” he said.
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.
“The school is certainly part of it,” Smith said of his decision to enter the mayor’s race.
Perkis said he looked forward to being mayor when the new school opens in August of 2014.
Smith, a longtime councilman, has been mayor for eight years. Perkis has been on council for eight years.
Both candidates said they want to lead the town through important issues such as the accreted beach management plan and the new Town Hall.
Joe Debney, executive director of the county Board of Elections, said the mayoral ballot includes a space for write-in votes as specified by the island Election Commission.
He said the ballot cannot be changed because absentee votes for the mayoral and council races have already been received.
Write-in votes may also be cast for three council seats up for grabs. The four candidates on the ballot are Chauncey Clark, Bill Matthews, Susan Middaugh and incumbent Councilman Patrick O’Neil.
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