According to this story, 43 independent candidates for the South Carolina legislature submitted petitions by the July 16 deadline. South Carolina has probably never had this many signatures to check in any one election year, at any time in the past. South Carolina doesn’t have the initiative or referendum or recall, and candidates running in major party primaries don’t need petitions.
Independent candidates rarely qualify in South Carolina. No independent candidate for either House of Congress has ever appeared on a South Carolina government-printed ballot. Independent candidates for legislature need petitions of 5% of the number of registered voters, which is so severe, few candidates even attempt it. However, this year is different, because approximately 250 candidates who had expected to run in major party primaries were kept off the June 12 primary ballot, and therefore many decided to become independent candidates. In South Carolina, independent candidates appear on the ballot as “By petition” instead of “independent.”