Lawsuit filed in debate over who should run, pay for party primaries

TheDigitel Charleston

Update November 14: Oral arguments are due to be heard Monday.

Update October 19: No surprises here, the disagreement is heading to court.

Headed to the S.C. Supreme Court thanks to a lawsuit filed for the election commissions in Beaufort, Chester, Greenville and Spartanburg counties. But there's no word on when the court if or will here the challenge — something that could cause confusion as the January 21 GOP primary in South Carolina fast approaches.

I'll point you to The State's report for the latest on the debate and the details of the lawsuit:take a read here.

Update October 7: While county election officials are happy to hear of the deal, many still have concerns about the vague language of the agreement and the grey area surrounding a legal mandate to run the primaries.

I'll point you to The Island Packet down in Hilton Head for a rundown; read it here.

First reporting: After the S.C. GOP stepped up their primary to January 21 to stave off Florida's bid to be the first in the South primaries, the state Republican party is also putting to bed the debate over who will fund the S.C. Republican primary.

Who? The Republicans will at an estimated cost of $1.2 million.

In years past, the political parties themselves ran primaries in South Carolina, but that all changed in 2008 when the state Legislature passed a bill requiring the high-profile primaries of both parties be run by the official election commissions.  However the leaders of Beaufort County's commission are saying that law only applied to the 2008 election and that having to run the 2012 GOP primary is an unfair tax burden on the county.

As for the pertinent part of the law, it reads: "For the 2008 election cycle, if the state committee of a certified political party which received at least five percent of the popular vote in South Carolina for the party's candidate for President of the United States decides to hold a presidential preference primary election, the State Election Commission must conduct the presidential preference primary in accordance with the provisions of this title and party rules provided that a registered elector may cast a ballot in only one presidential preference primary. However, notwithstanding any other provision of this title,

(a) the State Election Commission and the authorities responsible for conducting the elections in each county shall provide for cost-effective measures in conducting the presidential preference primaries including, but not limited to, combining polling places, while ensuring that voters have adequate notice and access to the polling places; and
(b) the state committee of the party shall set the date and the filing requirements, including a certification fee. Political parties must verify the qualifications of candidates prior to certifying to the State Election Commission the names of candidates to be placed on primary ballots."

You can check out the whole bill over here.

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