Judge: Run-off to decide 7th Congressional Democratic nominee - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Judge: Run-off to decide 7th Congressional Democratic nominee

Dr. Gloria Bromell Tinubu and Conway attorney Preston Brittain battle it out in the 7th Congressional District Democratic Debate. Dr. Gloria Bromell Tinubu and Conway attorney Preston Brittain battle it out in the 7th Congressional District Democratic Debate.
Conway attorney Preston Brittain Conway attorney Preston Brittain
Dr. Gloria Bromell Tinubu Dr. Gloria Bromell Tinubu

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) After hearing arguments from both sides, the Horry County judge reviewing a lawsuit filed by supporters of Democratic candidate for the 7th Congressional District Preston Brittain, has decided there should be a run-off.

When the lawsuit was first filed, Horry County circuit court judge Larry Hyman issued a restraining order to prevent the South Carolina Elections Commission from preparing ballots for the June 26 run-off elections for either Republicans or Democrats as they mulled over the possibility of a run-off between Dr. Gloria Bromell Tinubu and Conway attorney Preston Brittain.

Tinubu and Brittain were the top two vote getters in the primary election held on June 12.

The basis of the lawsuit is that the 2,300 votes cast for former candidate Ted Vick should be counted. Discounting those votes gave the majority to Dr. Tinubu, the SC Elections Commission determined last week.

[Read the full lawsuit by clicking here PDF.doc]

That restraining order put the Republican run-off between Horry County Council Chairman Tom Rice and former Lieutenant Governor Andre Bauer on hold as well.

After hearing arguments on Thursday, Hyman lifted that restraining order allowing the Republican run-off ballots to be prepared as expected.

After reviewing emailed statements following the hearing, Hyman returned his decision by email Friday, saying all the votes will be counted.

[Read the judge's decision here PDF.doc]

Candidate Preston Brittain responded to the judge's ruling, applauding the decision to make every vote cast in the 2012 Democratic Primary count. Brittain said:

Brave men and women from across our country have laid their life on their line to ensure everyone's voice is heard in our democracy. More than 2,300 voters were told their vote does not count in last week's election, and I applaud the South Carolina court for overturning the South Carolina Election Commissions' original decision to disenfranchise voters.

In an interview with WMBF News Reporter Ashley Taylor Brittain went on to explain, "That is a fundamental...our right to vote. And I think it really troubled my supporters not just that their candidate didn't make it but didn't make it because votes that should have counted didn't count."

On the other hand, Gloria Bromell Tinubu said, "I hope all citizens would be concerned about a policy that had been followed by the election commission, certified the election and we believe that they followed their rules and we of course agreed with that."

Tinubu says on the June 12 election people's votes were already heard. Tinubu added, "They spoke loudly and clearly on June 12th and they will vote and speak loudly and clearly again on June 26th."

Now both candidates are getting ready for the upcoming runoff. Brittain stated, "I'll keep reaching out and speaking with voters. Staying on the phone with them and seeing them in person. Everything I can to get in front of voters and let them know I'm someone who will fight for them."

Tinubu said, "It would have been nice for people who normally vote absentee would have had the opportunity to do that and I think that is a serious issue."

Right now it is not clear if there will be an appeal made to the recent decision. Tinubu added, "We are letting our legal team handle that and in due course we will let you know."

The South Carolina Election Commission also issued a statement following the judge's decision, showing exact vote totals, including votes cast for Ted Vick, and detailing the run-off election procedure.

[View the SCEC's response PDF.doc]

The run-off election will be held on June 26.

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