We are in the courtroom for the hearing in front of Circuit Court Judge Larry Hyman to determine if there will be a runoff in the Congressional District 7 race between Gloria Tinubu and Preston Brittain.
The state is asking the lawsuit seeking to force a runoff be dismissed saying the court does not have jurisdiction. The state says attorney Morgan Martin filed the suit on behalf of two men and no proof has been submitted showing the men live in the district or are registered to vote.
Martin said one of the plaintiffs are in court and he will amend his plea showing both plaintiffs live in the district and are registered voters.
Judge Hyman said this is a matter that must be decided by the courts. He said his court does have jurisdiction and denied the motion to dismiss.
He said he expects whatever he decides to be appealed.
One of the plaintiffs who filed suit is Vincent Masterpaul of Myrtle Beach. He testified he voted in the Democrat Primary and filed the suit because “a vote cast is supposed to be a vote counted.”
He said since Ted Vick’s name was still on the ballot, votes cast for him should be counted. Vick withdrew from the race after being arrested in May but his name remained on the ballot.
Masterpaul said there were no signs in polling places indicating votes for Vick would not count.
“The committee’s decision to toss the votes is saying we do not have a voice,” Masterpaul said.
If Vick’s votes are counted, it will mean Tinubu received less than 50% of the vote and a runoff will be required.
Martin said the lawsuit is not protesting the outcome of the election.
“We are protesting the manner in which the election was conducted.,” he said. “Let there be a runoff.”
While the restraining order issued by Judge Larry Hyman barring any ballots be drawn up for the 7th Congressional District race remains in tact, at least right now.
He just ordered the restraining order concerning the Republican runoff is now lifted. This means voters can now vote absentee in the Republican runoff.
Judge Hyman will not rule today. He said he wants to "sleep on this" and plans to rule tomorrow.
"I promise you I will rule on this at least by noon tomorrow," Judge Hyman said.
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