Horry County GOP to hold hearing regarding Lazarus appeal
MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - The Horry County GOP will now hold a hearing as election results for Horry County Council Chairman continue to be contested.
In a statement sent to WMBF News on Wednesday, the party said its executive committee will hold a hearing at 5 p.m. Thursday at Journey Church in Murrells Inlet.
The hearing comes as Mark Lazarus, who narrowly lost to incumbent Johnny Gardner in the June 28 runoff, appealed to the party. On Tuesday, he asked all absentee ballots be counted after the county mistakenly sent Democrat absentee ballots to Republican voters shortly before the election.
- Lazarus appealing to Horry County GOP, asks for all absentee ballots to be counted
- Lazarus asks election board to delay certifying runoff results
- Gardner narrowly defeats Lazarus in runoff, keeps seat as Horry County Council chair
- Printing error causes Horry County Republican voters to receive Democratic absentee ballots
The HCGOP said Thursday’s hearing will include testimony and evidence “limited to the grounds written in this protest” - referring to Lazarus’s appeal. The party said ultimately, the executive committee will determine whether or not to certify the results of the election in an executive session. The hearing is also required by state statutes.
The Horry County Board of Voter Registration and Elections said it 1,932 absentee ballots throughout the county prior to the runoff. However, 1,377 Democratic absentee ballots were accidentally sent to Republican voters.
The county cited an error in the ballot printing and mailing process by a third-party service, Sun Solutions. The cause of how this happened is still under investigation.
Lazarus claims only 140 absentee ballots were received by Tuesday’s deadline to be counted. He also said the Horry County Voter Registration and Elections Board previously denied a request to delay certifying the results of the runoff.
Requests for comment from Gardner have not been returned. The Horry County Voter Registration and Elections Board also had no comment.
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