Atlantic Beach prepares for special election

ATLANTIC BEACH, SC (WMBF) The Horry County and the State Elections Commissions will hold a special election for Atlantic Beach residents Tuesday at the First Missionary Baptist Church from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m.

The county and the state were forced to step in and host this election. The Atlantic Beach Municipal Elections Commission will not be able to facilitate the election Tuesday.

Atlantic Beach held its election for mayor and two council seats in November, 2011. The results of that election were protested and the Atlantic Beach Elections Commission declared the results were void.

By law, a new election had to take place within six months. But by March, the Atlantic Beach Elections Commission had not set a date for that special election.

Because 60 days notice of an upcoming election is required, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley stepped in and declared May 22 would be the day the Horry County and South Carolina would work together and run a special election in Atlantic Beach.

Director of Registration and Elections for Horry County, Sandy Martin said the county and state will work together Tuesday to ensure everything runs as it should.

"We've got our own poll workers this time, we hired the poll workers and we will have election commission at the precinct that day, you know, to make sure things are being run smoothly and we'll be the following all state and federal laws," Martin said.

Martin said an attorney has been hired in the case that a protest occurs after the election. By law, the county has 48 hours to hear the protest.

Atlantic Beach Interim Town Manager, Calvin Blanton said he wants to see a council that will act strongly on behalf of the citizens.

"I hope to see a fair election, a strong council in place. A council that's concerned with moving the town forward," Blanton said.

There's always a chance that something will go wrong.

"There's always issues with any election. There's a lot of people on the book in Atlantic Beach that didn't provide the ID when they registered and there's residency issues," Martin said.

Because the state and county are stepping in, Atlantic Beach will be forced to pay more money than they usually would for a regular election.

"Usually Atlantic Beach pays for their own election. The only thing we charge them for is like doing ballots, postage, that sort of thing. But with us doing the whole election, there'll be other charges," Martin said.

One Atlantic Beach resident said he would like for his town to be a little more like surrounding ones.

"We've been working on this thing for a number of years. We'd like to see this thing develop and become more compatible with surrounding towns," adds Joe Montgomery.

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