Beaufort City Council special election is here (Update: O'Kelley wins, paltry turnout)

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Official unofficial results: George O'Kelley has indeed won, and in a landslide at that. 

Almost as notable as the winner was the extremely modest turnout of 12.3% with 868 votes cast of a possible 7,053. 

Holman netted 191 (22%), Petit 194 (22.3%), and O'Kelley 474 (54.6%).

Put another way, just 6.7% of Beaufort's registered voters decided who our next council person was. Or, 3.8% of Beaufort's 12,361 residents — that's one in every 25 people deciding who helps run the city.

You can check out the final, uncertified results here.

As we like to say here: Winner winner chicken dinner.

First reporting: After the passing of 12-year Beaufort City Council member Gary Fordham, three candidates have emerged to vie for the seat: George O'Kelley, Larry Holman, and Ron Petit.

The person elected on Tuesday, July 19, will fill out the remainder of Fordham's current term, to expire in 2012.

The council seats are non-partisan and elected at large, which means all registered voters in the city will be able to participate in the special election.

There was a recent forum, but only Ron Petit and George O'Kelley attended; you can read the Packet's writeup of the forum here.

For a fuller view of where each candidate stands, they have completed and Island Packet questionnaire:

Normally, we'd stop here, but given O'Kelley's response in the questionnaire of "I was reprimanded as city judge for issuing warnings for parking violations. This was for tickets totaling less than $50. I have understood I was allowed to issue warnings." We're son under compelled that we feel we must remind that these were not any parking tickets, but his own.

He was reprimanded by the state Supreme Court in 2004 for dismissing them while he was an associate municipal judge for the city.

Where to vote

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and some precinct locations have changed for the purpose of the special election. You can, of course, only vote if you are registered inside city limits.

  • Beaufort 1, 2, 3: Charles L. Brown Activity Center (Formerly Greene Street Gym) 1001 Hamar Street
  • Burton 2C: Love House Ministries 423 Parris Island Gateway
  • Burton 3, Seabrook 3: Robert Smalls Middle School 43 Alston Road
  • Lady’s Island 1B, 3B: Lady’s Island Elementary School 73 Chowan Creek Bluff Road
  • Mossy Oaks 1A: Conerstone Christian Church 2301 First Boulevard
  • Mossy Oaks 1B: Beaufort Middle School 2501 Mossy Oaks Road
  • Mossy Oaks 2: Mossy Oaks Elementary School 2510 Mossy Oaks Road

The deadline to register has passed.

Voter ID note

While South Carolina has passed a new voter ID law, it is not yet in use as it is pending U.S. Justice Department approval.