He lost to Mark Lazarus in the March 26 runoff election, but councilman Al Allen got 101 votes as a write-in candidate in Tuesday’s general election for Horry County Council chairman.
Santa Claus got one vote. So did Satan.
And in the battle of famous Disney characters, Donald Duck has at least two fans among registered Horry County voters compared to Mickey Mouse’s one.
In all, 191 votes went to 54 different write-in candidates. Allen came out on top among them, but it was nowhere near the almost 2,000 votes Lazarus received, according to unofficial results.
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Lazarus’ was the sole name on the ballot, so Tuesday was long and uneventful for poll workers.
Of the county’s 180,213 registered voters, only 2,221 cast a ballot, or 1.23 percent.
“That is incredibly low,” said Scott Huffmon, professor of political science and director of the Social and Behavioral Research Lab at Winthrop University, via email.
He added the low turnout is mostly explained by the lack of a challenger, a date not in the standard election month of November and most of the political attention being focused on the District 1 race between Republican former governor Mark Sanford and Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch in the race to take former U.S. Rep. Tim Scott’s place.
Sandy Martin, director of Horry County Voter Registration, said there’s one election in Horry County where less votes were cast.
Last July, only 0.79 percent of the 26,890 registered voters in state House District 68 elected Heather Ammons Crawford to fill the seat vacated by former representative Thad Viers, Martin said. The area includes 16 precincts in Socastee.
Like Tuesday, the Republican Crawford was the only name on the ballot.
So, why have elections like these in the first place?
Martin previously said it’s required by the state to allow for write-in candidates.
They’re not cheap.
Tuesday’s special general election cost $50,000 to hold, Martin said. The March 12 special primary election for Horry County Council chairman – there were five Republican hopefuls – and the March 26 runoff cost $75,000 and $50,000, respectively, she added.
That equals $175,000 spent to fill the seat former chairman Tom Rice left after his 7th Congressional District victory last November. Martin said the state will reimburse Horry County the cost of both the primary and runoff elections.
Results of Tuesday’s election will be certified Friday at 10 a.m. and Lazarus is set to be sworn in as the next County Council chairman before the start of Tuesday’s meeting.