Lazarus appealing to Horry County GOP, asks for all absentee ballots to be counted
HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) – The runner-up in the Horry County Council chairman’s race is calling on all votes to be counted from last Tuesday’s runoff election.
Johnny Gardner won by a slim margin against Mark Lazarus.
Lazarus is appealing to the Horry County Republican Party, asking that all absentee ballots be counted after it was discovered that Republican voters were mistakenly sent Democrat ballots to vote absentee.
- Printing error causes Horry County Republican voters to receive Democratic absentee ballots
- Gardner narrowly defeats Lazarus in runoff, keeps seat as Horry County Council chair
- Lazarus asks election board to delay certifying runoff results
The Horry County Board of Voter Registration and Elections issued 1,932 absentee ballots throughout the county for the runoff election.
It wasn’t discovered until Friday before the election that 1,377 Democratic absentee ballots were sent to Republicans.
Horry County said it was due to an error in the ballot printing and mailing process. The printing service, Sun Solutions, is investigating what went wrong.
Lazarus said that only 140 absentee ballots were received by Tuesday’s deadline to be counted.
“Wednesday, the day after the election there was 183 ballots that they had that they will not open, that are just sitting there,” said Lazarus. “Then over the course of a few days, afterward, up to today there’s been more ballots that have come in. So as the Elections Commission states ‘every vote matters, every vote counts’ - in this case, we don’t know that every vote matters because they haven’t all been counted.”
The Horry County Voter Registration and Elections Board has denied a request to delay certifying the results of the runoff race, according to Lazarus.
“If anyone had any doubts that election integrity was not an issue in this country, what happened here in Horry County is a perfect example of what Donald Trump warned us about,” Lazarus said. “Not only am I fighting for the disenfranchised voters in this election, but I will also fight to make sure what happened in this race does not ever occur again in future elections,” Lazarus said.
He said his objective is not personal and his goal is to make sure that the ballot of every voter who intended to vote absentee is counted.
“People have the right to vote and they have a right to have their vote be heard,” said Lazarus. “In this case, we feel there are ones that have been disenfranchised.”
According to election rules, once the clock strikes 7:00 p.m. on Election Day any uncounted absentee ballots cannot be included in that election. Lazarus says he is prepared to take this where it needs to go, in order to get all of the absentee votes counted.
WMBF News reached out to Johnny Gardner and has not heard back.
Horry County Voter Registrations and Elections had no comment.
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