Though the city's election is two months away, one North Charleston candidate has already notched a win of sorts.
Days after being disqualified to run, North Charleston District 5 City Council Candidate Jerome Heyward is back on the ballot.
Heyward received a letter Monday from the Charleston County Board of Elections and Voter Registration informing him that his name would not appear on the city's Nov. 5 ballot because of a North Charleston ordinance that requires all candidates to have resided within the city for at least six months before Election Day.
On Wednesday, however, Heyward provided the commission with a lease that showed he has rented a condo in North Charleston since February, according to his attorney, Mark Peper. The commission then sent another letter, informing Heyward his name will be on the ballot after all.
Both Heyward and Peper said the incumbent, Councilman Todd Olds, raised concerns to the election commission about Heyward's residency.
"It's clear that Mr. Olds is trying to prevent as many people from running against him in a district comprised of 75 percent minorities," Peper said. "Just go beat your opponents. Don’t make false allegations to get them off the ballot.”
Heyward's voter registration was changed to reflect a 4247 Faber Place Drive address in mid-August, Peper said. The attorney noted that when election officials pulled the file, it fell within the state's 30-day residency requirement.
Heyward said he's spoken with most of the residents in District 5 and their main concern is the lack of true representation on City Council.
"They want to be represented by someone they can relate to and openly talk to, so at their urging, I decided to run," Heyward said. "If I’m fortunate enough to be elected, District 5 will finally have a voice on City Council, which is all they want.”
Olds called Heyward's allegation "inaccurate," denying claims that he raised any concerns related to Heyward's residency.
He said he welcomes Heyward's candidacy, if he's a legal resident.
"If he’s not a legal resident, then I think the laws should be upheld and he be dismissed off the ballot,” he added.
"I think my constituency speaks loud and clear and have done them a good job and will continue to," he added.
Althea Hall White is also in the District 5 race. She said the district and the city need qualified leaders who will help move the city forward by redeveloping blighted neighborhoods and making them more safe.
District 5 covers the western edge of North Charleston along the Ashley River, just north and south of Interstate 526. City voters go to the polls Nov. 5 to pick a mayor and to fill all 10 City Council seats.