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Protests don't succeed overturning North Charleston's Nov. 5 elections

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Vote talling

Poll workers process bins of voting results at Charleston County Board of Elections and Voter Registration headquarters on Tuesday, November 5, 2019. File/Gavin McIntyre/Staff

The results from three of North Charleston's elections were upheld Monday as the Charleston County Board of Elections and Voter Registration turned down two protests.

A third protest, filed by North Charleston City Council incumbent Todd Olds, was withdrawn over the weekend, said Joe Debney, director of the board.

While minor mistakes and protests aren't uncommon during elections, winning a protest remains a big challenge. To be successful, a protesting candidate must call into question enough votes to show there could have been a different result.

In races decided only by a handful of votes, that's often possible, but the two Nov. 5 elections at issue Monday weren't that close.

North Charleston mayoral challenger John Singletary filed a challenge but was unable to convince the board there were enough errors to close his loss to incumbent Mayor Keith Summey. According to official results, Summey received 1,558 more votes than Singletary.

In the North Charleston City Council District 6 race, the board rejected an appeal by challenger Jesse Williams, who lost to incumbent Councilwoman Dorothy Williams by 171 votes.

Olds was defeated by newcomer Jerome Heyward by a vote count of 663-588. 

The board took more than five hours to hear the protests.

"We always want to be sure that everything the protesters want to speak about they have the ability to do that,” Debney said.

The board's attorneys will finalize the orders in the next few days, and both Singletary and Jesse Williams could appeal their decisions. Those appeals would have to be filed and heard in Circuit Court, Debney said.

Reach Robert Behre at 843-937-5771. Follow him on Twitter @RobertFBehre.

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