District 106 State House of Representative candidate, Brian Sweeney, who lost in the June 28 primary runoff election has filed an appeal with the state Supreme Court to challenge the results.
Brian Sweeney is a Surfside Beach insurance agent who lost to Murrells Inlet Attorney Val Guest in a June 28th runoff by only 294 votes.
Sweeney has filed a petition with the state Supreme Court asking the justices to void the June 28 primary runoff election and order a new primary election be held.
A Horry County-wide error in which Republican voters received Democratic absentee ballots prior to the June 28 primary runoff election is a concern among many Horry County conservatives. This mistake is central to Sweeney’s petition.
On June 24, four days before the primary runoff election, Horry County election officials announced that 1,377 Republican voters in the county mistakenly received Democratic absentee ballots for that upcoming election. The issue was reported to the State Election Commission.
In his appeal to the Supreme Court, Sweeney alleged that 306 of those absentee voters in Horry County were eligible to vote in the District 106 runoff but were mailed the wrong absentee ballot. When replacement ballots were eventually mailed out, the voters were given three days or less to return their ballots.
“While 20 replacement ballots purportedly did arrive in time to be counted, 286 Horry County citizens were deprived of the right to vote,” Sweeney alleged in his petition. “While the mailing of the 306 replacement ballots was well-intentioned, it was simply too late to provide for a functional legal election. The result of this primary is unknowable.”
According to the petition, Horry County voter data found that 20 mail-in ballots arrived by the June 28 deadline. Another 58 mail-in ballots arrived after the June 28 deadline, but before June 30.
An email sent to MyrtleBeachSC News by Sweeney’s Attorney, Jason Luke, states:
It is usually not my practice to make public comments on pending litigation.
However, consider the following quotes from the petition:
No reasonable person would be satisfied with the legitimacy of an election where several hundred voters signed into their precincts, entered their voting booths, and walked out without ever casting a ballot. Yet, that is effectively what happened on June 28, 2022, where 306 absentee voters were mailed the wrong absentee ballot.
(Petition p. 7)
While replacement ballots were eventually mailed out, [District 106] voters were given three days or less to return their ballots. …[D]ue to an intervening Sunday, any voter who did not receive his replacement ballot on June 25, 2022, would receive his ballot, at the earliest, the day before the election.
(Petition p. 7) (emphasis in original)
[A] disproportionate percentage of District 106 voters received incorrect ballots.
(Petition p. 8 n.1)
While the mailing of the 306 replacement ballots was well-intentioned, it was simply too late to provide for a functional, legal election. The true result of this primary is unknowable.
(Petition pp. 8-9)
Attorney Butch Bowers will be defending the position of the S.C. Republican Party in this appeal. The S.C. Republican Party denied the appeal.
Butch Bowers was also the attorney for Horry County Council Chairman Candidate Mark Lazarus. Lazarus also appealed these same issues to the Horry County GOP. In that appeal, Bowers held the position that Lazarus’ appeal had merit.
Bowers now represents the State Republican Party, defending the party’s polar opposite position on the same legal matter.
THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA
In the Supreme Court
ON PETITION FOR A WRIT OF CERTIORARI
APPEAL FROM SOUTH CAROLINA REPUBLICAN PARTY
State Executive Committee
Appellate Case No. 2022-000984
Brian Sweeney ……………………………………………………………………………… Petitioner, v.
South Carolina Republican Party
and Thomas Duval Guest, Jr. ……………………………………………………… Respondents. ___________________
NOTICE OF APPEARANCE
PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that the undersigned counsel, Robert E. Tyson, Jr. and Vordman Carlisle Traywick, III, both of Robinson Gray Stepp & Laffitte, LLC, and Karl S. Bowers, Jr., of Bowers Law Office, LLC, hereby enter and provide notice of their appearance as counsel of record for Respondent South Carolina Republican Party in the above-captioned case. The undersigned counsel respectfully request that the Clerk of Court and all counsel of record note the present appearance on their respective service lists and direct all future pleadings, correspondence, and other relevant matters in connection with this appeal to the addresses set forth below.
(Signature page to follow)
/s/Vordman Carlisle Traywick, III Robert E. Tyson, Jr. (10820) Vordman Carlisle Traywick, III (102123) ROBINSON GRAY STEPP & LAFFITTE, LLC
Post Office Box 11449 Columbia, South Carolina 29211 (803) 929-1400
Karl S. Bowers, Jr. (16141)
BOWERS LAW OFFICE, LLC
Post Office Box 50549
Columbia, South Carolina 29250
Counsel for Respondent South Carolina
Columbia, South Carolina
July 20, 2022