Is committing election fraud OK as long as a Democrat wins? Jeremy Walters, the Vice Chairman of the S.C. Libertarian Party says it’s unacceptable, and is fighting a court battle. Walters says there is a media blackout on his case.
This week, a 5th Judicial Circuit judge did not dismiss a lawsuit that seeks to put a Libertarian candidate in the S.C. Charleston-area (District 42) Senate seat. The seat was left vacant on May 31, when Democrat Robert Ford resigned due to a scandal surrounding the use of public funds at adult establishments. A special election was held on October 1 and won by Democrat Marlon Kimpson, who garnered 79.6% of the vote. See article.
Republican Billy Shuman Jr. got 19% of the vote, while Libertarian Party candidate Alex Thornton got just 1.2%.
Walters filed a lawsuit on September 26 contending that both the Republican and Democrat candidates violated a state election law. According to Section 8-13-1356 of the S.C. Code of Laws, political candidates must file their Statements of Economic Interest (SEI, an income disclosure form) for the previous calendar year along with their declaration of candidacy or petition for nomination.
Both Kimpson and Shuman listed 2013 on their SEIs, and missed the deadline to correct their errors on July 1st. Thornton was the only candidate to fill out the form correctly, therefore, that would leave Thorton as the only valid candidate, making her the winner.
The same law got 250 candidates kicked off the ballot in 2012, and though Governor Nikki Haley signed a bill this year attempting to mitigate the effects of this legislation, those changes had not yet taken effect because they had yet to be approved by the Department of Justice.
If the lawsuit is successful, Thornton may be declared the winner of the election. She would be the only Libertarian State Legislator in the state, and one of the higher ranking Libertarian politicians in any state.
Walters told Joshua Cook that he believes South Carolina was complicit in allowing an illegal election to go forward. He is very confident that the judge will rule in his favor.