Current Status Introducing Body:
SenateBill Number: 362Ratification Number: 260Act Number: 253Primary Sponsor: HollandType of Legislation: GBSubject: ElectionsCompanion Bill Number: 249 3124 239 3042Date Bill Passed both Bodies: Jan 22, 1992Computer Document Number: 362Governor's Action: SDate of Governor's Action: Feb 19, 1992Introduced Date: Jan 08, 1991Date of Last Amendment: Jan 21, 1992Last History Body: ------Last History Date: Feb 19, 1992Last History Type: Act No. 253Scope of Legislation: StatewideAll Sponsors: Holland Moore Matthews WilsonType of Legislation: General Bill
Bill Body Date Action Description CMN ---- ------ ------------ ------------------------------ --- 362 ------ Feb 19, 1992 Act No. 253 362 ------ Feb 19, 1992 Signed by Governor 362 ------ Feb 13, 1992 Ratified R 260 362 House Jan 22, 1992 Ordered enrolled for ratification 362 Senate Jan 21, 1992 Conference Committee Report 98 adopted 362 Senate Jan 15, 1992 Set for consideration at a time certain 362 House Sep 23, 1991 Conference Committee Report 98 adopted 362 House Jun 06, 1991 Conference powers granted, 98 appointed Reps. to Committee of Conference 362 Senate Jun 06, 1991 Conference powers granted, 98 appointed Senators to Committee of Conference 362 Senate Jun 06, 1991 Insists upon amendment 362 House Jun 06, 1991 Non-concurrence in Senate amendment 362 Senate Jun 05, 1991 House amendments amended, returned to House 362 Senate Jun 05, 1991 Committee Report: Favorable 11 with amendment 362 Senate May 07, 1991 Recommitted to Committee 11 362 House May 03, 1991 Read third time, returned with amendment 362 House May 02, 1991 Unanimous consent for third reading on next Legislative day 362 House May 02, 1991 Amended, read second time 362 House May 01, 1991 Debate adjourned until Thursday, May 2, 1991 362 House May 01, 1991 Amended 362 House Apr 17, 1991 Committee Report: Favorable 25 with amendment 362 House Feb 12, 1991 Introduced, read first time, 25 referred to Committee 362 Senate Feb 07, 1991 Amended, read third time, sent to House 362 Senate Feb 05, 1991 Debate interrupted 362 Senate Feb 05, 1991 Amended 362 Senate Jan 31, 1991 Debate interrupted 362 Senate Jan 31, 1991 Read second time, ordered to third reading with notice of general amendments 362 Senate Jan 29, 1991 Committee Report: majority 11 favorable, with amendment, minority unfavorable 362 Senate Jan 08, 1991 Introduced and read first 11 time, referred to Committee 362 Senate Dec 10, 1990 Prefiled, referred to 11 CommitteeView additional legislative information at the LPITS web site.
(A253, R260, S362)
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTIONS 7-13-35, AS AMENDED, 7-13-40, AS AMENDED, 7-13-50, AS AMENDED, 7-13-60, 7-13-70, AS AMENDED, 7-13-610, 7-13-830, AS AMENDED, 7-15-420, AS AMENDED, 7-15-450, 7-17-510, 7-17-570, AND 7-25-140, CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, RELATING TO ELECTIONS, SO AS TO PROVIDE THAT PRIMARIES, EXCEPT MUNICIPAL PRIMARIES, MUST BE CONDUCTED BY THE STATE ELECTION COMMISSION AND THE RESPECTIVE COUNTY ELECTION COMMISSIONS, PROVIDE PAYMENT FOR ELECTION PROTESTS AND CONTESTS, REVISE PROVISIONS REGARDING THE CONDUCT OF ELECTIONS, APPOINTMENT OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF ELECTION, AND MANAGERS OF ELECTION, BALLOTS, AND CANVASSING OF VOTES; TO AMEND THE 1976 CODE BY ADDING SECTION 7-13-611 SO AS TO PROVIDE FOR THE ARRANGEMENT OF OFFICIAL COUNTY AND STATE BALLOTS; TO PROVIDE FOR THE CONDUCT OF PRESIDENTIAL PREFERENCE OR ADVISORY PRIMARIES; TO PROVIDE FOR THE ACT'S EFFECT ON A COUNTY OPERATING ITS ELECTIONS THROUGH AN ELECTION AND REGISTRATION COMMISSION COMPOSED OF SEVEN MEMBERS; TO PROVIDE THE DATE FOR CERTAIN PRIMARIES TO BE CONDUCTED BY THE STATE ELECTION COMMISSION AND COUNTY ELECTION COMMISSIONS; AND TO REPEAL SECTION 7-9-110 RELATING TO PERMITTING COUNTY POLITICAL PARTY COMMITTEES TO ESTABLISH COUNTY PARTY ELECTION COMMISSIONS; AND TO REPEAL SECTION 7-13-90 RELATING TO THE APPOINTMENT OF MANAGERS OF PRIMARIES.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:
Municipal elections excepted
SECTION 1. Section 7-13-35 of the 1976 Code, as last amended by Act 357 of 1990, is further amended to read:
"Section 7-13-35. The authority charged by law with conducting an election shall publish two notices of general, special, and primary elections held in the county, except municipal elections, in a newspaper of general circulation in the county. Included in each notice must be a reminder of the last day persons may register to be eligible to vote in the election for which notice is given, notification of the date, time, and location of the hearing on ballots challenged in the election, a list of the precincts involved in the election, the location of the polling places in each of the precincts, and notification that the process of examining the return-addressed envelopes containing absentee ballots will begin at 2:00 p.m. on election day. The first notice must appear not later than sixty days before the election and the second notice must appear not later than two weeks after the first notice."
Party primaries conducted by State Election Commission and county election commissions
SECTION 2. Section 7-13-40 of the 1976 Code, as last amended by Act 363 of 1988, is further amended to read:
"Section 7-13-40. In the event that a party nominates candidates by party primary, a party primary must be held by the party and conducted by the State Election Commission and the respective county election commissions on the second Tuesday in June of each general election year and a second and third primary each two weeks successively thereafter, if necessary. Certification of the names of all candidates to be placed on primary ballots must be made by the political party chairman, vice chairman, or secretary to the State Election Commission or the county election commission, whichever is responsible under law for preparing the ballot, not later than twelve o'clock noon on May first, or if May first falls on a Sunday, not later than twelve o'clock noon on the following Monday. The filing fees for candidates whose names are on ballots to be voted on in all primaries, except municipal primaries, must be transmitted by the respective political parties to the State Election Commission and placed by the executive director of the commission in a special account designated for use in conducting the primaries and must be used for that purpose. The filing fee for each office is one percent of the total salary for the term of that office or one hundred dollars, whichever amount is greater."
Second and other primaries conducted by State Election Commission and county election commissions
SECTION 3. Section 7-13-50 of the 1976 Code, as last amended by Act 364 of 1988, is further amended to read:
"Section 7-13-50. A second primary, when necessary, must be held two weeks after the first and is subject to the rules governing the first primary. At the second primary the two candidates among those who do not withdraw their candidacies and who received more votes in the first primary than any other remaining candidate alone shall run for any one office and if only one candidate remains, he is considered nominated, except that if there are two or more vacancies for any particular office, the number of candidates must be double the number of vacancies to be filled if so many candidates remain. In all second primaries the candidate receiving the largest number of votes cast for a given office must be declared the nominee for the office whether or not he has received a majority of the votes cast for that office, and when there are several candidates for several different offices, then the several candidates receiving the largest number of votes for the several positions are considered as nominated for the offices whether or not they received a majority of the votes cast. Other primaries, if necessary, must be ordered in a similar manner by the county election commission or the State Election Commission, as appropriate."
Polls may not be closed earlier
SECTION 4. Section 7-13-60 of the 1976 Code is amended to read:
"Section 7-13-60. The polls must be opened at seven o'clock a.m. and closed at seven o'clock p.m. the day of election and must be held open during these hours without intermission or adjournment."
Appointment of county commissioners of election and managers of election
SECTION 5. Section 7-13-70 of the 1976 Code, as last amended by Act 497 of 1990, is further amended to read:
"Section 7-13-70. For the purpose of carrying on general or special elections provided for in Section 7-13-10, the Governor, at least ninety days before the election, shall appoint for each county not less than three nor more than five commissioners of election upon the recommendation of the senatorial delegation and at least half of the members of the House of Representatives from the respective counties. The Governor shall notify the State Election Commission in writing of the appointments. The State Election Commission shall verify that at least one of the appointees represents the largest political party and one represents the second largest political party as determined by the composition of that county's delegation in the General Assembly or the makeup of the General Assembly as a whole if the county's delegation is composed of only one party's members. The commissioners shall continue in office until their successors are appointed and qualified. For the general election held on the first Tuesday following the first Monday in November in each even-numbered year, the commissioners of election shall appoint three managers of election for each polling place in the county for which they must respectively be appointed for each five hundred electors, or portion of each five hundred electors, registered to vote at the polling place. For primary elections held on the second Tuesday in June of each general election year, the commissioners of election shall appoint three managers of election for each polling place in the county for which they must respectively be appointed for the first five hundred electors registered to vote in each precinct in the county, and may appoint three additional managers for each five hundred electors registered to vote in the precinct above the first five hundred electors, or portion thereof. The commissioners shall also appoint from among the managers a clerk for each polling place in the county, and none of the officers may be removed from office except for incompetence or misconduct. For all other primaries, special, or municipal elections, the authority charged by law with conducting the primaries, special, or municipal elections shall appoint three managers of election for the first five hundred electors registered to vote in each precinct in the county, municipality, or other election district and one additional manager for each five hundred electors registered to vote in the precinct above the first five hundred electors. The authority responsible by law for conducting the election shall also appoint from among the managers a clerk for each polling place in a primary, special, or municipal election. Forty-five days prior to any primary, except municipal primaries, each political party holding a primary may submit to the county election commission a list of prospective managers for each precinct. The county election commission must appoint at least one manager for each precinct from the list of names submitted by each political party holding a primary. However, the county election commission may refuse to appoint any prospective manager for good cause. No person may be appointed as a manager in a primary who has not completed a training program concerning his duties and responsibilities as a poll manager and who has not received certification of having completed the training program. The training program and the issuance of certification must be carried out by the county election commission. After their appointment the commissioners, managers, and clerks shall take and subscribe, before any officer authorized to administer oaths, the following oath of office prescribed by Section 26 of Article III of the Constitution: `I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I am duly qualified, according to the Constitution of this State, to exercise the duties of the office to which I have been appointed, and that I will, to the best of my ability, discharge the duties thereof, and preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of this State and of the United States. So help me God.'
It must be immediately filed in the office of the clerk of court of common pleas of the county in which the commissioners, managers, and clerks are appointed, or, if there is no clerk of court, in the office of the Secretary of State. Before opening the polls, the managers of election shall take and subscribe the oath provided for in Section 7-13-100. Upon the completion of the canvassing of votes, this oath must be filed with the commissioners of election along with the ballots from that election precinct."
Separate ballots for each political party
SECTION 6. Section 7-13-610 of the 1976 Code is amended to read:
"Section 7-13-610. The State Election Commission and the respective county election commissions shall prepare separate ballots for each political party holding a primary. The ballots for each party must contain in print only the names of the candidates who have filed to run in that particular party primary and must have a stub at the top perforated so as to be easily detached. On the stub must be printed `Official state (or county) Ballot, (name of party) Primary', the name of the county and the precinct, and the date of the primary. On the right side there must be a blank line under which must be printed `Initials of Issuing Officer'. Stubs on ballots for each precinct must be numbered consecutively, beginning with `No. 1'. The ballots must be furnished by the State Election Commission for all except members of the General Assembly, county officers, less than county officers, and circuit solicitors, for which the county election commission shall furnish the ballots. One ballot must contain the names of all persons running for state and federal offices. The other ballot must contain the names of all persons running for the General Assembly, county offices, less than county officers, and solicitors.
Ballots furnished by the State Election Commission under this section must have marked on them in plain type, both on the stub and on the ballot, the words `Official State Ballot'. Ballots furnished by the county election commission under this section must have marked on them in plain type, both on the stub and on the ballot, the words `Official County Ballot'.
The ballot must be printed on paper of a thickness so that the printing cannot be distinguished from the back and must be of a size and color as directed by the State Election Commission. If more than one ballot is to be used in a primary, each ballot must be printed on different colored paper. The ballot must contain a voting square opposite the name of each candidate, and the voter shall vote by putting a mark in the voting square opposite the name of the candidate of his choice. The State Election Commission is hereby empowered to establish, under Chapter 23 of Title 1, such rules and regulations as are necessary for the proper administration of this section."
Arrangement of official county and state ballots
SECTION 7. Article 5, Chapter 13, Title 7 of the 1976 Code is amended by adding:
"Section 7-13-611. The arrangement of each `Official County Ballot' for each primary, containing the names of candidates for office, must conform as nearly as practicable to the following plan and contain specified instructions and no others:
(NAME OF PARTY)
Initials of Issuing Officer
(DATE OF ELECTION)
(NAME OF PRECINCT)
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
(NAME OF PARTY)
(DATE OF ELECTION)
(NAME OF PRECINCT)
INSTRUCTIONS - Make a cross (X) in the voting square  opposite the name of each candidate on the ballot for whom you wish to vote. Before leaving the booth, fold the ballot so that the initials of the manager may be seen on the outside.
You may vote for one, less than one, but not more than one candidate.
SHERIFF ONE SEAT TO FILL
 (NAME OF CANDIDATE)
 (NAME OF CANDIDATE)
 (NAME OF CANDIDATE)
You may vote for three, less than three, but not more than three candidates.
COUNTY COUNCIL THREE SEATS TO FILL
 (NAME OF CANDIDATE)
 (NAME OF CANDIDATE)
 (NAME OF CANDIDATE)
 (NAME OF CANDIDATE)
 (NAME OF CANDIDATE)
 (NAME OF CANDIDATE)
Each `Official State Ballot' similarly must conform to the plan set forth in this section.
The State Election Commission is hereby empowered to promulgate such rules and regulations under Chapter 23 of Title 1 as are necessary for the arrangement of the official county ballot."
Challenged votes turned over to appropriate authority
SECTION 8. Section 7-13-830 of the 1976 Code, as last amended by Act 472 of 1988, is further amended to read:
"Section 7-13-830. When any person is so challenged, the manager shall explain to him the qualifications of an elector and may examine his as to the same. If the person insists that he is qualified and the challenge is not withdrawn, his vote must be received and placed in an envelope on which must be written the name of the voter and that of the challenger. The challenged votes must be kept separate and apart and not counted but turned over to the commissioners of election or other authority having supervision of the election. At the meeting specified in either Section 7-17-10 or 7-17-510, whichever is applicable, this authority shall hear all objections to these votes, and when no person appears or offers evidence before the meeting to sustain an objection made at the polls, the ballot is no longer a challenged ballot. When the challenger appears or produces witnesses or evidence in support of the challenge, the authority in charge shall proceed to hear and determine the question. Its decision is final. Each ballot which is no longer challenged and each ballot whose challenge was decided in favor of the voter must be removed from the envelope, mingled, and counted and the totals added to the previously counted regular ballot total of all precincts without attribution to a particular precinct. If the voting at the voting place is being done upon a voting machine, the managers shall provide a paper ballot which must be placed in an envelope and treated as provided in this section.
Where, pursuant to Section 7-13-820, a person's name could not be verified by the registration board or where a telephone was not available and the person was allowed to vote a challenged ballot, the Board of Voter Registration, before the meeting, shall certify to the authority in charge whether or not the voter is a qualified elector of the precinct in which he voted his challenged ballot. If the board certifies the person challenged is not a qualified elector of the precinct, this certification is considered an administrative challenge and is clear and convincing evidence for the meeting authority to disallow the ballot. Nothing in this section prohibits the county election commission from continuing any challenge administratively as long as it has evidence to sustain the challenge."
County political party committee not responsible for absentee ballots
SECTION 9. Section 7-15-420 of the 1976 Code, as last amended by Act 357 of 1990, is further amended to read:
"Section 7-15-420. The county election commission, municipal election commission, or executive committee of each municipal party in the case of municipal primary elections is responsible for the tabulation and reporting of absentee ballots. At 2:00 p.m. on election day, the managers appointed pursuant to Section 7-13-70, and in the presence of any watchers that have been appointed pursuant to Section 7-13-860, may begin the process of examining the return-addressed envelopes that have been received by the county registration board making certain that each oath has been properly signed and witnessed and includes the address of the witness. All return-addressed envelopes received by the county registration board before the time for closing the polls must be examined in this manner. No ballot may be counted unless the oath is properly signed and witnessed nor may any ballot be counted which is received by the county registration board after time for closing of the polls. The printed instructions required by Section 7-15-370(2) to be sent each absentee ballot applicant must notify him that his vote will not be counted in either of these events. If a ballot is not challenged, the sealed return-addressed envelope must be opened by the managers, and the enclosed envelope marked `Ballot Herein' removed and placed in a locked box or boxes. After the polls close and all return-addressed envelopes have been emptied in this manner, the managers shall remove the ballots contained in the envelopes marked `Ballot Herein', placing each one in the ballot box provided for the applicable contest. When all absentee ballots have been placed in the ballot boxes, they must be tabulated and reported as a separate precinct in the same manner as other ballots of the county are counted on election day. The absentee voter precinct is a countywide precinct and a part of each election district in the county. If any ballot is challenged, the return-addressed envelope may not be opened, but must be put aside and the procedure set forth in Section 7-13-830 must be utilized; but the absentee voter must be given reasonable notice of the challenged ballot."
Application of article to political parties holding instead of conducting primaries
SECTION 10. Section 7-15-450 of the 1976 Code is amended to read:
"Section 7-15-450. This article applies to political parties holding a primary and any other authorities conducting an election."
Canvassing of votes and declaration of results
SECTION 11. Section 7-17-510 of the 1976 Code is amended to read:
"Section 7-17-510. The commissioners of election for the counties shall meet in a convenient place in the county seat on the Thursday next following the primary, before one o'clock p.m. of that day and shall organize as the county board of canvassers for primaries. They may appoint a competent person as secretary. The chairman shall administer the constitutional oath to each member of the board and to the secretary. The secretary shall administer to the chairman the same oath. Each county board of canvassers for primaries shall canvass the votes of the county and declare the results. The county board of canvassers for primaries shall make statements of the votes of the precincts of its county as the nature of the primary requires not later than twelve o'clock noon on the Saturday next following the primary and at that time transmit and certify to the Board of State Canvassers the results of its findings. This procedure must be repeated following every primary runoff. The Board of State Canvassers shall meet at the office of the State Election Commission and shall canvass the vote and declare the results of the primaries and the runoffs no later than twelve o' clock noon on the Saturday next following the primary in the State for state offices, federal offices, and offices involving more than one county."
Costs of court reporter and transcript of hearing in protests and contests paid by State Election Commission
SECTION 12. Section 7-17-570 of the 1976 Code is amended to read:
"Section 7-17-570. The executive committee shall hear the protest or contest on Thursday following the deadline for filing the same. Testimony at the hearing shall be limited to the grounds stated in the written protest.
The protestant and each other candidate in the protested race shall have the right to be present at the hearing, to be represented by counsel, to examine and cross-examine witnesses and to produce evidence relevant to the grounds of the protest. The chairman of the committee shall provide for and conduct the hearing as nearly as possible in accordance with the procedures and rules of evidence observed by the circuit courts of this State. The chairman shall have authority to administer oaths and subpoena witnesses. Upon the conclusion of the hearing of the protest the committee shall determine all issues by majority vote and forthwith certify the results of the election. The State Election Commission shall pay for the costs of the court reporter and the transcript of the hearing.
The committee shall remain in session until a conclusion has been reached. All candidates in the protested or contested race shall be immediately notified of the committee's decision."
Copies of election laws posted by appropriate authority
SECTION 13. Section 7-25-140 of the 1976 Code is amended to read:
"Section 7-25-140. The authority responsible under law for conducting a party primary and the commissioners of election or other electoral board in general and special elections in their discretion may post, or cause to be posted, a copy of Sections 7-25-120 to 7-25-140, printed on cardboard in as large type as a board twelve by twelve inches will carry, in each polling precinct."
Presidential preference or advisory primaries
SECTION 14. Nothing in this act nor any other provision of law may be construed as prohibiting the political parties in this State from conducting, according to their own rules and at the party's expense, presidential preference or advisory primaries.
Act's effect on counties operating elections through an election and registration commission composed of seven members
SECTION 15. If a county operates its elections through an election and registration commission composed of seven members, the structure and composition are not affected or changed by the provisions of this act. However, the provisions for inclusion of majority and minority party representatives upon the commission and upon the expanded commission as constituted for primary elections and protests must be applied to the seven-member commission, mutatis mutandis.
Date for certain primaries to be conducted by the State Election Commission and county election commissions
SECTION 16. Except for municipal primaries, all primaries for national offices, excluding the Office of President, and all primaries for state offices, offices including more than one county, and countywide and less than countywide offices, specifically including, but not limited to, all school boards and school trustees, special purpose district offices, which include, but are not limited to, water, sewer, fire, soil conservation, and other similar district offices, must be conducted by the State Election Commission and the county election commissions on the second Tuesday in June of each general election year.
SECTION 17. Sections 7-9-110 and 7-13-90 of the 1976 Code are repealed.
SECTION 18. This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor but only if funded by the General Assembly.
Approved the 19th day of February, 1992.