State Rep. Wallace Scarborough is challenging his Nov. 4 election loss, arguing that more than 700 voters illegally cast ballots. That's about three times more than the 211-vote margin of victory for Democratic challenger Anne Peterson Hutto.
Her campaign manager, Mike Meehan, said Scarborough risks going down as a sore loser and "has baselessly accused hundreds of James Island and Folly Beach residents of committing a crime, simply so he can undo an election whose outcome he dislikes."
But Scarborough's attorney, Butch Bowers of Columbia, said he thinks Scarborough's protest has a strong chance of success "because I think the evidence will show that enough votes were cast illegally to cast the election outcome in doubt."
Bowers formerly served as chairman of the State Election Commission, which is expected to hear the protest appeal early next month.
Scarborough's protest claims:
--At least 494 votes were cast by voters who had moved outside House District 115.
--At least 185 votes were cast by voters who had moved to a new precinct within District 115 but did not cast a fail-safe ballot, as required.
--And that there were at least 27 more votes cast in the James Island 5B precinct than voters who signed the poll list there.
The protest doesn't cite any voter names.
Scarborough, a Republican who was seeking his fifth two-year term, is seeking to have the Nov. 4 results tossed out and a new election held.
His protest doesn't need to show how the 700 votes in question were cast, only that they were improperly added to the total. Three years ago, Charleston County Councilwoman Colleen Condon filed a successful protest to overturn the results of her District 7 election loss because a few hundred voters were left off the roles — more voters than the ultimate margin of victory.
Bowers said before he stepped down from the commission, he presided over a handful of similar cases. "These are not novel issues," he said.
Charleston County's state lawmakers were scheduled to get sworn in Monday, but that meeting has been postponed.
County Delegation Chairman Chip Limehouse, R-Charleston, did not return a message left Tuesday about the reason for the delay and when a new date might be set.