Sheriff nominee, County Council chairman may have opponents

Petition candidates meet filing deadline, must have signatures verified
If the signatures on their petitions are verified, Stephane Williams will challenge Republican Sheriff's nominee Don Reynolds, and Kaaren Mann will challenge Republican Laurens County Council Chairman Joe Wood.

Two people have filed to run as petition candidates in the November general election in Laurens County.

Fredrick Stephane Williams submitted a petition to be placed on the ballot as a candidate for Laurens County Sheriff.

Kaaren Mann submitted a petition to be placed on the ballot as a candidate for Laurens County Council Seat 2.

If certified by the Laurens County Voter Registration and Elections office, Williams will run against Republican candidate Don Reynolds to replace Sheriff Ricky Chastain, who Reynolds defeated in the June Republican primary.

If he is certified, Williams will be listed on the ballot as Stephane Williams and will be listed on the ballot after Reynolds.

If Mann is certified as a petition candidate, she will run against Laurens County Council Chairman Joe Wood, a Republican. She will be listed on the ballot as K Mann and will be on the ballot after Wood.

The order that candidates are listed on ballots is set by the S.C. Election Commission and changes with every election.

Williams and Mann both presented petitions to the Elections office prior to the noon Friday, July 15 deadline. Williams turned in his petition at 11:15 on Friday and Mann turned in her petition at 11:55. Petition candidates do not pay a filing fee.

Election officials will have 30 days to check the names on the petitions to determine they are qualified to sign that particular petition. 

There were a number of petition candidates placed on the 2012 general election ballot after hundreds of candidates statewide were declared ineligible because of filing irregularities.

In 2012, the local election office had to certify signatures on the petitions by hand, but the records have since been digitized, which will simplify the certification process, Director Lynne West has said.

The voter registration applications are now scanned, so election officials pull the application and check to see if the voter is active and registered in the appropriate district. The signatures on the application is then compared to the signature on the petition.

When the petitions were received by the election office, they were time stamped by election office officials and the signatures were counted, but not verified. The pages of the petitions were numbered and the candidates were given a receipt. 

To be eligible as a petition candidate, the candidate must provide a petition signed by at least 5% of the active registered voters in the district.

For a countywide race, such as sheriff, the petition must have 1,920 names. Williams turned in 2,673 names, which must be verified as active registered voters.

In Mann’s case, she needed 286 names to run against Wood. She turned in 498 names, which have not yet been verified. 

Petition candidates are required to filed a Statement of Economic Interest with the State Ethics Commission and they must make Campaign Disclosures reports. 

 
There were a number of petition candidates placed on the 2012 general election ballot after hundreds of candidates statewide were declared ineligible because of filing irregularities. In 2012, the local election office had to certify signatures on the petitions by hand, but the records have since been digitized, which will simplify the certification process, Director Lynne West has said.

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Clinton, SC 29325
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