Two candidates defeated in the May 22 Atlantic Beach special election have appealed the results, which means Jake Evans, who won by a landslide in that governor-ordered contest still is waiting to be seated as the town’s mayor.
Retha Pierce and Windy Price filed their appeals to the election results in the Horry County Clerk of Court.
The pair had 10 days following their initial election protest hearing, where their pleas were first denied, to appeal. Price entered her appeal, a 31-page document, 15 minutes before the deadline on Monday. Pierce had just four minutes to spare before the court closed on Monday.
Both allege that Governor Nikki Haley didn’t have the right to order the election and that Horry County didn’t have the authority to run the election or the May 25 protest hearing.
Neither Pierce nor Price could be reached for comment Tuesday.
Price said in her appeal that an executive order from Haley calling for the election was based on false information that was used to circumvent state and federal election laws, confusing and intimidating voters.
Haley ordered the new election in March after the results of the original Nov. 1 election were tossed out, and the Atlantic Beach election commission didn’t set a new date and told Horry County to oversee the vote.
Pierce alleges the town didn’t fail to set a date, but instead informed the public of the distraction caused by the annual Bikefest. She also alleged that Horry County didn’t have clearance to move the polling location after the town’s community center was reportedly booked on May 22 with a Bikefest event. The afternoon of the election, however, the Atlantic Beach Community Center was dark with no cars in the parking lot and with a sign that directed voters to a nearby church.
Pierce, the incumbent Atlantic Beach mayor, lost to Evans, a Town Council member, 79-5 in the special election. Price received just one vote.
Evans, who is waiting to take his seat, wasn’t too frustrated or surprised on Tuesday by the appeals.
“I’m patient,” he said. “I think the right thing will eventually happen and I think it will happen sooner than they (Pierce and Price) think it will happen. The positive thing is that everybody in the surrounding areas sees what we have been dealing with in Atlantic Beach.”
Lisa Bourcier, spokeswoman for Horry County, said the women can appeal further if they aren’t satisfied with the results of the court’s decision. The cases could go to the Circuit Court and then the S.C. Supreme Court.
“It’s just buying them time,” Evans said of the suits. “If they hadn’t filed the protest, I’d be sworn in as mayor. It’s not that anything is wrong with the election. They know what the law is and that if they put up the fight they can keep their seats.”
Contact AMANDA KELLEY at 626-0381.