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Group Files Complaint Over South Carolina’s U.S. Senate Primary




A Republican political group has filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice in the hopes of extending the 2014 GOP primary race for the U.S. Senate – potentially making reelection a little more difficult for incumbent liberal Lindsey Graham.

The complaint wouldn’t affect this spring’s primary election date (June 10) but it could potentially extend the runoff election period by several weeks – assuming none of the candidates receive more than 50 percent of the vote on the first ballot.

In such instances, state law calls for a runoff election to be held between the top two finishers two weeks after the primary. As it stands now, that runoff date would be June 24.

Carolina Conservatives United – a group which is opposing Graham’s candidacy – says that isn’t enough time.

Specifically, the group claims in its complaint that this narrow time frame violates a 2010 federal law mandating at least a 45-day window for shipping runoff ballots to uniformed members of the U.S. Armed Forces serving overseas. Oh … and allowing sufficient time for those ballots to be returned, obviously.

State leaders say the federal law doesn’t apply to them. They claim that South Carolina’s current primary and runoff system is covered by a 2006 state statute which instructs uniformed servicemen and women to “rank” candidates on primary ballots in anticipation of a possible runoff.

Those preferences are then applied to the runoff ballot.

Hmmmmm … that doesn’t seem like the same thing to us. Also, it gives these voters no recourse in the event major revelations are made about the candidates during the runoff period.

Anyway, if this complaint is successful we could be looking at a 45-day extension of the South Carolina GOP runoff election – which could potentially give one of Graham’s five GOP primary challengers an extra month-and-a-half to campaign (and give conservative groups which oppose Graham an extra month-and-a-half to run ads against him).

In other words it makes things harder on Graham … which given his terrible voting record is something we have no problem embracing.

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