Wells declared the winner in Pine Ridge!
Pine Ridge, SC (Paul Kirby) – According to John Carrigg, the chairmen of Lexington County Board of Voter Registration & Elections, Robert Wells is the certified mayor-elect of the Town of Pine Ridge. He said that the previous Mayor David Busby had until 5 p.m. on Thursday to file a protest and Busby did not meet that deadline. According to Carrigg, Wells will be sworn in Monday evening.
Busby said in a telephone interview that he was under the impression that he had 14-days to file a protest. He was not happy with what he felt was an ambush campaign orchestrated by town citizens he had made unhappy years ago.
Busby had asked for an opinion from the SC State Election Commission regarding the way that Wells had won the election. Wells ran as a write-in candidate, but only announced that candidacy to the public on the Saturday before the election. The current election law says that write-in candidates must file with the local board two weeks in advance of the election. According to the opinion of the state commission, without the two week notice, the race was illegal. In the state’s letter to Carrigg, they asked how the county’s board had planned to remedy the situation. According to Carrigg, their remedy was to certify Wells as the winner.
Carrigg said Friday that the county board has always allowed the municipalities to decide whether an unopposed candidate's name would be on their ballots. If they asked the board to remove the name before the election they could declare the unopposed candidate the winner. In the case of the election Tuesday, Pine Ridge did not make such a request.
In the neighboring Town of Springdale, Mayor Michael Bishop was running unopposed. The town requested that his name and race be removed from the ballot. This was done and Bishop was declared the winner without a vote.
Wells said Friday that he had notified the board in writing, and he believed that he had done so at least two weeks prior to Tuesday’s election. Whether he did or didn’t is no longer an issue according to Carrigg. Wells is the mayor-elect and will replace Busby who has served more than 20-years next week.