Horry County still does not have a final decision on who its next county chairman will be, three days after Tuesday’s primary.
The Horry County Board of Election meeting on Friday should have been a simple recount, but it quickly became a major event when 200 votes were found from the Ocean Forest precinct.
After failing to complete the state audit, the county found the missing votes.
According to the new unofficial results presented at Friday’s meeting, Gardner remained in the lead with 12,419 votes while Lazarus had 12,308 votes — shrinking Gardner’s lead to 109 votes, down from a 196-vote lead from Thursday’s official results.
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The board of election chairman Larry Leagans said the recounts will probably not affect any other race.
Sandy Martin, director of elections for Horry County, said Thursday afternoon the vote totals matched the amount of voters who showed up. When it was revealed not all votes were accounted for, the Lazarus campaign questioned the results at the onset of the Friday meeting. James Wiles, a representative for the Lazarus campaign, asked the board to wait until Monday to make the count official.
However, the votes must be certified by noon Saturday, but the Lazarus campaign believes given these extra votes were found so late, the situation merits pushing verification off to Monday.
After some debate, the board decided to wait for the state’s audit before certifying the votes and beginning the recount. The Lazarus campaign also decided to wait for that audit before deciding its next actions. But as of 5 p.m. Friday, the counts were not official and no decision was made for the Lazarus campaign’s request.
Wiles said in the meeting that he did not want to unnecessarily protest an election if there was a clear winner.
Friday’s meeting should have been the final verification of the results.
If the results are made official on Saturday, protests of the election have to be filed by Monday. But if it is extended to Monday, protests must be filed by next June 25 at noon.
That date for protest could possibly change, as was discussed after it was announced a decision would not come on Friday. Still, there will be a deadline to protest.
“If you certify, a clock starts ticking,” Wiles said to the board at the beginning of the meeting.