A statewide run of ballot confusion last year led to changes on how candidates run for public office. York County is about to find out how those changes will work.
Municipal elections take place this fall in Fort Mill, Tega Cay and elsewhere in York County. Candidate filing for local races begins Aug. 7 and wraps up Sept. 6.
A year ago, candidates throughout the state saw their names on ballots, then removed, after missing what many called an unclear deadline for submitting economic interest statements. Some of those candidates, like eventual state House Dist. 26 winner Raye Felder in Fort Mill, returned to the ballot as unaffiliated petition candidates.
Felder, a Republican, and her colleagues in the legislature eventually passed a bill that streamlined the process that almost excluded her.
“Election reform was major,” she said. “It does try to clarify the fiasco that happened last year.”
Legislators worked to avoid a similar problem in future election cycles. Now economic interest forms are submitted online to the state ethics commission rather than the county election office. The county office provides information for candidates on how the forms can be submitted, but no longer takes them.
“They tried to eliminate as much confusion as possible,” said Alan Helms, deputy director with the York County Voter Registration and Elections office.
Also, a missed deadline with the ethics commission can result in fines. It won’t, as happened last year, mean candidates being removed from the ballot.
“I think this will resolve it,” Felder said. “Due diligence has been done.”
The coming fall elections will be significant for local communities. Elections take place Nov. 5.
The seats of Councilmen Nathan Blythe and Larry Huntley, along with Councilwoman Guynn Savage, come due in Fort Mill. Mayor George Sheppard and Council members Dottie Hersey and Stephen Perkins have terms up in Tega Cay.
There also will be a change for voters this year. Photo identification will be required at the polls. Acceptable forms of ID are a state driver’s license, state Department of Motor Vehicles ID card, state voter registration card with photo, federal military ID and U.S. passport.
Registered voters without any of those identifications can stop by the elections office at 13 S. Congress Street in York to have one made.
Otherwise rules this year are the same as for past elections. Helms said his department still recommends that anyone with new personal information since the last election get it updated.
“Any time you move or change addresses, let us know just to make sure you don’t have any problems on Election Day,” he said.