Petition candidates may lose votes from straight party voters

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – Horry County Election officials recommend voters look through each race when they hit the polls on Election Day. There are concerns if voters don't, they could miss out on voting in multiple races.

The problem is with voters who use straight party voting. According to Sandy Martin, Horry County Voters Registration & Election Director, straight party voting is a very popular option among Horry County voters.

About half of Horry County voters used the straight party option in the 2008 general election.

Straight party voting will direct the machine to select a candidate in the party you choose, but will not select a candidate in a race where all options are petition candidates. This is because these candidates are not affiliated with a party on the ballot.

"If you hit a straight party ticket, you will miss that race. If you want to vote for someone in that particular race, you will have to hit that particular candidate that you'd like," explained Horry County Spokeswoman, Lisa Bourcier.

In Horry County there are three races where this is the case. House District 56, where the two petition candidates are Dennis Disabato, Jr. and Mike Ryhal. House District 105, where the petition candidates are Mike Connett, Kevin J. Hardee, Blake Hewitt, Bert Von Herrmann, and Bill Wiegand.

The third race is Board of Education District 11 where the petition candidates are Jeffrey Garland and Levon Martin.

Martin says this is a unique circumstance. She says it's the result of the candidacy filing issues from earlier this year. These candidates didn't properly file all the required paperwork to meet state deadlines. Instead, they had to gather enough petitions from voters if they wanted to be the ballot for this election.

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