MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – The votes for the Myrtle Beach Mayor and City Council were certified Thursday morning, and incumbent Wayne Gray held on to his council seat by just 66 votes.
The candidates with the top three votes will take the three open seats in the city council, according to city spokesperson Mark Kruea. The three with the highest votes in the now-official count are Mike Lowder with 2,387 votes, or 24.99 percent of the vote, Randal Wallace with 2,380 votes or 24.91 percent, and Wayne Gray with 1,984 votes or 20.77 percent.
Jackie Vereen got 1,918 votes or 20.08 percent of the vote, Keith VanWinkle got 853 votes, or 8.93 percent, and there were 31 write-in votes, according to the unofficial results sent by Kruea. Vereen received just 66 fewer votes than Gray in the unofficial results.
The Myrtle Beach Election Commission met at 10 a.m. Thursday to canvass the votes and certify the election results. Eleven failsafe ballots were opened and counted, and three illegible ballots were denied.
There was an automatic recount of the vote totals for Wayne Gray and Jackie Vereen, which did not change the outcome of the results. Gray will hold on to his council seat, along with Mike Lowder and Randal Wallace.
The results were delayed overnight because a low battery in the Coastal Lane 1 recording device prevented the votes from being recovered and counted Tuesday. The machine was sent to Conway for recharging, and the full unofficial results were made available Wednesday.
No runoff will be required for the city council candidates, because the highest vote totals for the top four candidates each exceeded "magic number" to avoid a runoff.
The Myrtle Beach Election Commission will meet at 10 a.m. Thursday, November 7, at City Hall to canvass the votes and certify the election results.
The voter turnout for Tuesday's election was an estimated 20.4 percent, Kruea stated.
View complete election results here: http://www.wmbfnews.com/category/152328/live-election-results
Swearing-in ceremonies will be held in January.