Oconee Co. voters sign petitions, not ballots - FOX Carolina 21

Oconee Co. voters sign petitions, not ballots

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An Oconee Co. voter signs a petition outside of a local polling place. (June 12, 2012/FOX Carolina) An Oconee Co. voter signs a petition outside of a local polling place. (June 12, 2012/FOX Carolina)
WALHALLA, SC (FOX Carolina) -

After the Oconee County Republican primary was canceled less than a week ago, voters came out to polling places Tuesday to sign petitions instead of casting ballots.

The ballot in Oconee County only had one race, the U.S. House of Representatives District 3 seat.

While poll workers were still tallying votes, they said it was predicted to be a very low turnout at a precinct in Walhalla.

"I think every candidate should have the chance to be voted on based on where they stand, and they didn't get that opportunity this year," said voter Adam Wright.

Jerry Burnett volunteered to collect signatures for all the candidates kicked off Oconee County ballots and said for every vote cast at his precinct, three signed petitions.

"We are simply going to send a message that you all are going to stay out of our business," Burnett said.

Burnett said the petition turnout is a clear push back against the state Supreme Court's ruling that kicked the nearly 300 candidates off the ballots across South Carolina.

Though no votes were cast Tuesday, the hotly contested sheriff's race still remains unresolved with no candidate slated to appear on the November ballot. There are three remaining candidates campaigning for signatures - Donnie Fricks, Mike Crenshaw and Terry Wilson.

While no longer running for Oconee County sheriff, that has not stopped former candidate James Bartee from campaigning. Bartee is now running for the state Senate District 1 seat by way of petition.

In order to get on the November ballot by petition, candidates have to get 5 percent of the voters in the district they are running in to sign the petition. The petition must be submitted by noon on July 16, then the commission will have 30 days to verify the document.

If verified, candidates will know on Aug. 16 if they will be on the November ballots or not.

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