Site Map
Voting News
Contact Us
About Us

is NOT!
associated with

Senate could end up being final arbiter in dispute over county election results
Associated Press    07 December 2004

COLUMBIAA Sumter man's election protest could leave the South Carolina Senate deciding who sits in the seat Democrat Phil Leventis now holds.

Some senators are uncomfortable with the prospect.

"I hope we never face the issue," Senate President Pro Tem Glenn McConnell, R-Charleston, said.

It would be an unwelcome test for a Senate that's been divided along party lines since a GOP takeover in 2000.

"I don't want this thing to turn into some partisan debacle on opening day," McConnell said.

The South Carolina State Election Commission hears an appeal today by candidate Dickie Jones in the state's closest race. The last recount showed Jones received 15,454 votes, just 86 less than Leventis.

Jones has appealed, telling the Election Commission that in Sumter County 111 more voters cast ballots than signed in on poll books and that 1,055 more ballots were cast than have been accounted for.

The Election Commission could call for a new election if Jones proves the vote was fundamentally flawed, or the commission could let the results stand. In the latter case, Jones could appeal to the state Senate.

The South Carolina Constitution says the Senate has the final word on who sits in its 46 seats.

Jones refused interview requests from The Associated Press and referred questions to his law partner, J. Seth, who said Jones is taking the process one step at a time. Today, evidence will show a new election is necessary, Seth said. An appeal to the Senate depends on what the commission orders, he said.

"Heaven forbid if we have to go there," Seth said. Still, he said, Jones is "not going to appeal simply to appeal."

Leventis wants the commission to uphold the count and hopes that Jones doesn't appeal to the Senate.

Leventis angered Republican senators and Gov. Mark Sanford on the last day of the session in June. The Democrat held the floor for hours, railing against Sanford's nominee for chairman of the Workers' Compensation Commission. He cost the nominee his job and killed several bills dear to Republicans.

"If the thing becomes precedent-setting and incredibly political, that would be very, very unfortunate," Leventis said.

But Seth said that may be necessary. "The Constitution sometimes answers questions in ways that we do not like," he said.

With the Senate "extremely partisan now, any decision that they might make would be seen as basically a partisan Republican decision," said John Crangle, state director for the Washington-based political watchdog group Common Cause.

McConnell said staffers are researching how to conduct an appeal if the Senate decides to hear one.


THE CHALLENGE: Dickie Jones will present his case for a new election in the South Carolina Senate race he lost by 86 votes to incumbent Phil Leventis. Jones claims hundreds of ballots are questionable.

OPTIONS: The State Election Commission could uphold Leventis' win or call for a new election. If Jones loses his appeal, he can ask the Senate to review the case.

THE SENATE: If it goes to the Senate, it would be the first time that body decided an election for one of its members. Democrat Leventis doesn't want the Republican-controlled Senate picking a winner.

Previous Page

Election Problem Log image
2004 to 2009


Accessibility Issues
Accessibility Issues

Cost Comparisons
Cost Comparisons

Flyers & Handouts

VotersUnite News Exclusives

Search by

Copyright © 2004-2010 VotersUnite!