COLUMBIA, SC — A state Senate proposal aimed at preventing another ballot fiasco, like the one that kicked more than 250 candidates off the ballot last year, advanced Thursday.
The Senate will consider giving final approval Tuesday to the bill. The proposal would make the process of filing to run for public office less confusing, supporters say, by requiring both incumbents and challengers to file the same documents and meet the same deadlines.
Last year, 250 challengers were removed from the ballot for improperly filing paperwork. Incumbents were unaffected. Lawmakers have pledged to clear up the process of filing.
The debate Tuesday will focus on whether political parties should be removed completely from the process of candidates filing for public office, said state Sen. Larry Martin, R-Pickens, a sponsor of the bill.
The bill would give county political parties the option of accepting a candidate’s filing fee and other documents required by political parties, or having candidates file all documents with their county election commission.
But state Sen. Joel Lourie, D-Richland, says that flexibility could lead to more confusion when county political parties choose different options.
Lourie said he plans on offering an amendment Tuesday to require candidates to file all paperwork with their county election commission - a “one-stop shop” for candidates. Lourie said his proposal also “weeds out the possibility that a party operative might discourage someone from running.”
Martin said Lourie’s proposal is unnecessary and the threat of lawsuits would deter party officials from preventing someone from running.
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