Lazarus accepts certification Horry County Council chair runoff results, no longer appealing

Mark Lazarus
Mark Lazarus(Source: Mark Lazarus campaign)
Published: Jul. 12, 2022 at 1:23 PM EDT
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HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) – The runner-up for Horry County Council chairman announced on Tuesday he is no longer appealing the results.

Mark Lazarus made a statement on Tuesday saying that he accepts the certification of the runoff election on June 28.

Incumbent Johnny Gardner narrowly defeated Lazarus by 260 votes.

Lazarus had been fighting the runoff results after it was discovered that 1,377 Democratic absentee ballots were accidentally sent to Republican voters prior to the runoff. 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 the June 28 deadline to be counted.

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He appealed to the Horry County Voter Registration and Elections Board to delay certification until all absentee ballots that were received late were counted. But the board said state law does not allow them to open or count late ballots.

Lazarus then appealed to the Horry County GOP to have all ballots counted, but the party’s executive committee said that he was a day late in file his appeal, according to a state statute.

Lazarus’s campaign stated that he entered his appeal on Tuesday, June 5. Per the statute, however, the deadline to file an appeal was on Monday, July 4.

The appeal was denied and the case was thrown out.

Lazarus then announced on Friday that he was going to take it to the state level and filed an appeal with the South Carolina GOP. A hearing with the SCGOP’s Executive Committee was scheduled to take place in Columbia on July 14.

In a statement, Lazarus said that appealing the decision won’t provide many answers for voters.

“As I stated previously, my protest was not just about who won, but to find out what went wrong and make sure election mistakes do not keep occurring in Horry County,” Lazarus stated. “Unfortunately, appealing the county party’s decision to the South Carolina Republican Party won’t give Horry County voters the answers they deserve as to what went wrong in their election and does not help determine whether anyone who voted by absentee in the runoff election actually had their vote counted or a remedy to count their votes.”

He said that he recognizes that there is no recourse to count the votes, so no further appeal will be pursued.

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