South Carolina Disqualifies Another Primary Winner, and Election Commission Thereby Certifies the Primary Loser for the November Ballot

On August 16, a lower state court in South Carolina removed Mike Barnes from the November ballot, even though he won the Republican primary in June, for Greenville County Council, 18th district. In response, the State Election Commission then put the loser in that primary, the incumbent, Joe Baldwin, on the November ballot. See this story. Barnes was removed because he couldn’t prove he had filed the Statement of Economic Interests back in March. Incumbents were not required to file that form.

Baldwin still has the option to be a write-in candidate in November. He says he hasn’t decided whether to campaign as a write-in candidate.


  1. Tired of chasing your own tail trying to power-grab the single-winner district elections by being “better than everyone else”?

    Try team psychology, in districts of two or more, the more the better!

    The 9th USA Parliament elects 1000 consecutively ranked names with a guaranteed satisfaction level of 99.9% plus 1000 votes, since each name is elected with .999% plus one vote. A guaranteed minimum satisfaction level of 99.9% plus 1000 votes.

    In our recent election, 100% of the votes counted, because only 629 names were elected.

    Join the frees,
    opposite gender #1!
    (And consecutively alternating ranked genders thereafter)

  2. J.D. FARGO · · Reply


  3. @2 u mad bro? 😛

    But seriously, sheesh, this stinks. I betcha now that people who lose primaries in SC are going to party instead of give a concession speech because they know that their opponents might very well be kicked off the ballot.

  4. When I filed to run for the Arizona State House of Representatives, I had to fill out a financial disclosure form. The Arizona Secretary of State’s office included the form in a packet with all of the paperwork required to run for office. It was quick and easy to file all of the paperwork, including the financial disclosure.

    With the large volume of South Carolina candidates getting knocked off of the ballot because they didn’t file their financial disclosure forms, I have to wonder how clear it was to the candidates that a financial disclosure form was required and how easy it was for them to find.

  5. Jim Riley · · Reply

    #4 In South Carolina, partisan candidates file with their parties. If the party nominates by primary (South Carolina does not require nomination by primary), the party official then sends the candidate’s name to the election officials for inclusion on the ballot. The State conducts the primary for the party.

    A while back in response to some scandal, South Carolina started requiring public officials, elected and non-elected, to file Statements of Economic Interest (SEI). What they are concerned with is that a official might economically benefit from government action. So any government income (tax refunds and SSI are about the only exempt items) or ownership of property that benefited from nearby government improvements. Annual filing is required.

    Candidates for office (since they are potential officials) are also required to file. They are supposed to file the SEI at the same time they file their declaration of candidacy. The party official then forwards it to the state ethics commission (or another agency for legislator/legislator candidates). Current officials, including incumbents don’t have to file another SEI.

    So it is similar to the system you faced, except filing is with party officials, who forward the information to the State, rather than filing directly with the SOS. The reason so many candidates were able to petition on the ballot as independents, was that filing date was later and with the State, and they knew to include the SEI.

    2 years ago, South Carolina started *requiring* SEI’s to be filed electronically. This meant that they would be online so that if someone wanted to check up on some official, they could use the internet, instead of going to Columbia and having a clerk dig out a copy from a filing cabinet.

    The annual filing date for electronic SEI’s is in April. The filing date for party candidacy was March 31. Apparently, many candidates were told simply to file online. They checked the ethics commission website which gave an April deadline, and apparently indicated the wrong date.

    Almost all of the provisions about the SEI are in the ethics code section of the statutes. But the provision about candidates filing is in the election code and was not changed when electronic filing was implemented. So new candidates are still required to file a paper copy of the SEI, which is sent to capital where somebody keys it in.

    Someone associated with an incumbent, but who claims to be only interested in the integrity of the law filed suit to knock an opponent of the incumbent off the ballot. Nobody really paid much attention because candidates had been filing electronically or told to file electronically.

    But the South Carolina Supreme Court ruled in favor of the challenger, and ordered party officials to check that all candidates had complied with the letter of the law.

    In this latest case, Greenville party officials had candidates enter their SEI electronically. The two senatorial candidates in the story have SEI’s on file from March 19 and 21. Apparently, based on the newspaper story, they were able to prove they had prepared the paper version. The other candidate could not (and his SEI is dated in May).

    It was a tail end of the legislative session when the issue came up. The legislature has passed legislation that for future elections that candidates should also file their SEI’s electronically. They tried to make it retroactive, but a senator threatened a procedural filibuster, where he would propose to amend the bill with each other pending bill.

    So let’s say you had your packet, and when you went to file, had been told, that your financial disclosure form should be done online, and given the web site. So you file your declaration of candidacy, go home and file your economic disclosure online. You receive official notification that you are on the ballot, and start campaigning. You hear about a Supreme Court ruling – that had not been expected. Party officials desperately ask for reconsideration – for example permitting anyone who had filed their economic disclosure before the annual deadline, which was two weeks after the candidacy filing deadline, to remain on the ballot.

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