Judges Throw Out Military Voting Suit
Federal judges threw out a lawsuit that claimed the State Election Commission's decision to send partial ballots to military and overseas voters was a violation of federal law.
A federal three-judge panel rejected a claim Monday that military voters don't have enough time to vote in South Carolina state and local primary elections.
A state Senate candidate filed the lawsuit last week after a state Supreme Court decision knocked almost 180 candidates off the June 12 primary ballot for failing to file statement of economic interest forms properly.
The judges ruled that plaintiff Amanda Somers, who is running for state Senate District 5 in the Upstate, does not have standing to make the claims because her voting rights are not at stake and her attorney could not prove she would be harmed by any possible loss of military votes.
Somer's lawyer, Todd Kincannon, argued that sending ballots that only had federal races on them to military and overseas voters violated the Voting Rights Act because it was a change in the voting procedures.
But the judges said that they could not determine whether Somers would be directly affected by the casting of military ballots. Neither Kincannon nor the State Election Commission lawyer knew how many military voters had requested Republican primary ballots in Somers' district.
Kincannon also claimed that military voters should get ballots 45 days before an election in order to return them in time.
State Election Commission Attorney Elizabeth Crum said that rule only applied to federal races. She also said members of the military can request ballots within the 45 days before the election, and have until the close of the polls on election day to return their ballots by mail or e-mail.