Independent petition candidate for governor Tom Ervin is going to have to try again to turn in his signatures.

Ervin tried to turn in more than 20,000 signatures of registered voters on Monday, but State Election Commission officials explained it would be a lengthy process to count them the day before a primary when their manpower was involved in preparing for Tuesday's election, said Chris Whitmire, election commission spokesman.

Both sides agreed it would be best to do it on another day, tentatively set for next week, Whitmire said.

Ervin needs 10,000 verified signatures to get on the November ballot, but said he amassed more than twice that number: 20,137 to be exact.

"We're excited," he said Monday, adding that his list of voter signatures came from residents living in every county in the state.

"State government is controlled by career politicians," said Ervin, of Greenville. "Today, we give the voters of South Carolina a clear choice of whether they want career politicians to be in charge or someone who will address the political back-scratching and bring that to an end."

Ervin said the names were collected by volunteers who approached voters going door-to-door, as well as at beaches, shopping centers, and malls.

When Ervin returns to submit his signatures to the state Election Commission, staff will go through each name to determine whether they are legal residents and registered voters. Ervin and all those wishing to file as petition or independent candidates have until July 15 to get their lists in.

Ervin is a former state judge and Democratic lawmaker. He started the political season as an announced Republican primary challenger versus Gov. Nikki Haley, but later changed to run a solo effort.

On the stump so far he has been more critical of Haley than of Democrat candidate Sen. Vincent Sheheen.

Republicans also have tried to get Ervin to stop referring to himself as an independent Republican for governor.

Reach Schuyler Kropf at 937-5551