A document recently discovered during renovations taking place at the Georgetown County Voter Registration Office will change the way the party primaries are conducted during this year’s municipal election in the City of Georgetown.
In the past, the primaries have been conducted separately by the Republican and Democratic parties and the general election was handled by the County Elections Office. The document found by County Elections Director Donna Mahn is an ordinance which was passed by Georgetown City Council on Oct. 28, 1997. It states “all” of the city’s elections will be conducted by the County Board of Registration and Elections.
Prior to the passage of that ordinance, the city handled its own elections but the primaries have continued to be conducted by the political parties.
Mahn, at a meeting Wednesday, said once she uncovered the ordinance she presented it to county attorney Wesley Bryant, who said the wording of the ordinance means the County Elections Office should be in charge of all city elections, including the primaries. County Elections Board Chairman Dean Smith said at Wednesday’s meeting the county will begin conducting the primaries this year.
“It might be more professional if we do it,” Smith said.
The filing will take place March 15-29 for anyone who is a city resident who wants to run for one of the seats.
If either or both parties require a primary, they will be held on June 11 with the general election taking place Nov. 5.
The seats expiring this year are held by Mayor Jack Scoville and Councilmembers Brendon Barber, Paige Sawyer and Jeanette Ard.
Scoville, now in the final year of his first term, said he will seek a second term.
“I probably will not seek a third term if the people are gracious enough to elect me to another four years,” Scoville said.
Barber confirmed Thursday his name will be on the ballot this year. What he has not decided is whether he will seek reelection to his council seat or if he will run for mayor. Sawyer said he will seek reelection to his council seat.
Ard said Thursday she will also seek reelection to her seat. So far, no newcomers have announced plans for running for any of the seats.
The Town of Andrews holds elections this year as well.
Because the town holds non-partisan elections, filing for the three expiring council seats will take place in August.
Those holding seats that will be on the November ballot are Thomas Alford, David Tisdale and Sid Ackerman.
Filing will also take place in August for anyone wishing to run for a seat in Pawleys Island government. The seats held by the mayor and the four council members all expire every two years. Because only the incumbents have filed since then, the town has not held an election since 2005. The last contested race was in 2003.
By Scott Harper
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