Candidates debate inside, activists petition outside

Published: Jun. 7, 2012 at 9:09 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 17, 2012 at 5:52 PM EDT
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MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - As candidates for the 7th Congressional District exchange words inside the Myrtle Beach High School auditorium, a group of political activists try to fix a ballot debacle outside.

"We're not promoting them, we're not endorsing them we're just trying to fix the disenfranchisement that's happened to these folks," said Janet Spencer with the Carolina Patriots. The group is setting up tables outside of Thursday's Republican Primary Debate to help candidates stricken off the ballot earlier this year get back on.

"We'll get voters to sign their name, print their name, and give us their address," Spencer said. The Carolina Patriots are acting as part of Operation: Lost Vote, which is a grassroots effort to combat an earlier Supreme Court decision that removed hundreds of candidates from both parties off of ballots statewide. These stricken candidates can get back on the ballot, but first they have to petition in their district.

"They have to get five percent of the voters in of the district in which they're running," said Sandy Martin with the Horry County Election Commission. Martin says it doesn't matter where these candidates choose to petition, but what does matter is that they only get signatures from voters in their district.

"We do check to make sure they're in the district they're signing for," Martin said.

Spencer and other Carolina Patriots say they're aware of that not just any voter signature will do, and they're taking steps to make sure they get the right signature on the right petition.

"We will ask the folks who want to sign, 'Where do you go to vote?'" Spencer said. "We can do a cross check on it to check it out."

Copyright 2012 WMBF News. All rights reserved.