Tuesday’s election results in Horry County were certified and dust is starting to settle as to which races will have a recount, which will have run-offs and who will be involved.
A statewide automatic recount was canceled Friday. It was scheduled because the Republican primary race for South Carolina’s next lieutenant governor is close. However, Horry County will continue with a recount Friday, said Lisa Bourcier, Horry County spokeswoman.
Horry County officials still are scratching their heads as to why a glitch in the paper absentee ballot sent nearly 300 votes to District 5 County Council candidate Clif Smith, temporarily showing him in a run-off election with top vote getter Tyler Servant of Surfside Beach. A manual recount of the paper ballots showed Servant will take on Reese Boyd III instead in a June 24 run-off election.
“There are two ways to vote absentee: There’s on the machines where they come in here to vote and then there are paper ballots,” said Lisa Bourcier, public information director for the county. “The machine ballots were fine, it was the discrepancy in the paper ballots.”
In all, there was a discrepancy with about 525 paper absentee ballots, she said.
“We still don’t know what caused it,” she said. “We actually had to hand count all 525 ballots and those new totals changed the outcome of two races.”
Boyd, who thought he was out of the race Wednesday and learned he was back in, said the week has been a “roller coaster.”
“It’s an interesting spot to be in,” Boyd said Thursday. “Historically, second-place finishers in run-off elections often do pretty well. We’re encouraged. We think we’re in a good spot. We’re working very hard to do the same thing that we were doing initially, which was reaching out to our base and to our supports and asking the to help to get the word out.”
Along with the District 5 run-off, there will be a recount in the District 2 race for County Council. It appears Bill Howard received 1 percent more votes than incumbent Brent Schulz. State law requires a recount if the margin is 1 percent or less.
There will not be a run-off for District 58 as originally believed. The race went to Jeff Johnson.
Bourcier said the red flag was noticed at the precinct-by-precinct printout where District 5’s Smith received about 300 absentee votes and his opponents each received fewer than 20. Smith’s final absentee vote count was 19.
The Associated Press and The Sun News writer Vicki Grooms contributed to this report.