Persistence, patience and petitions have enabled four Chesterfield County Council candidates to have their names printed on the November election ballot after all. Earlier this summer, problems with filing procedures in Chesterfield County, and across the state, prevented several candidates from being placed on the ballot for the primary election held June 12.
Now, according to Lois Burr, director for the Chesterfield County Voter’s Registration Office, each of those four candidates will have their names printed under Petition Candidate, for the election Nov. 6. Those names are Johnny McKenzie, Tommy Hunt, Catherine Thompson and Theodore Burns.
These candidates have earned their spot on the ticket by collecting signatures from at least 5 percent of their district’s active registered voters.
Burns, a candidate in District 9, received his letter of confirmation from the Chesterfield County Voter’s Registration last Thursday. “The biggest challenge now is to educate people about the voting process,” he said.
“If you vote a straight party ticket, Republican or Democrat, it won’t help the petition candidates,” said Burns. “Our names will appear on the ballot under Petition Candidates.”
Thompson, also a candidate in District 9, said that people need to be aware of the district in which they are registered to vote. In her efforts to collect the necessary petition signatures, Thompson said it was surprising to learn how many people did not know who their current council representative is, or know their district by number.
According to Burr, every 10 years the Census Report determines whether or not district lines need to be re-drawn in relation to changes in the population. Information clarifying any such changes, said Burr, were mailed to registered voters prior to the primary election in June.
Hunt, a candidate in District 6, said he is grateful for all the help he received from the Chesterfield County Voter’s Registration in taking the necessary steps to be placed on the ballot. “We need votes now — not signatures,” said Hunt.
Each of the four candidates for county council collected a few hundred petition signatures. However, Phil Powell, a candidate for South Carolina House Representative in District 53, needed more than 1,000 signatures. He is currently awaiting final approval for his place on the ballot from the South Carolina Election Commission in Columbia.
Most of the candidates for the county council race, who filed with the Republican Party, or who were incumbents, did not face the same obstacles in filing procedures.
As it stands, the candidates for county council seats include: District 1, Eddie Rivers; District 5, Frank Plyler and Johnny McKenzie; District 6, Lenora Powe and Tommy Hunt; District 7, Matt Rivers and Donna Johnson; and District 9, Robert Cole, Theodore Burns and Catherine Thompson.
Powell, when confirmed, will face incumbent state Rep. Ted Vick and Richie Yow for the S.C. House Seat 53.
— Staff Writer Karen Kissiah can be reached by calling 843-537-5261, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.