COLUMBIA — The South Carolina Election Commission turned aside protests Tuesday over Democratic state Rep. Ted Vick’s re-election in Chesterfield County and Democratic state Sen. Clementa Pinckney’s re-election in the Lowcountry.
Commission spokesman Chris Whitmire said commissioners voted 5-0 to deny a protest on Vick from Republican challenger Richie Yow.
Yow wanted a new election in House District 53, alleging that up to 2,000 ballots were illegally cast by people who didn’t live in the district, by people who moved and shouldn’t have been allowed to vote for the House race and through absentee ballots that were not cast properly.
Vick won by 448 votes.
Commissioners also unanimously rejected the protest by Pinckney’s Republican challenger, who claimed Pinckney doesn’t live in the district he represents. Leilani Bessinger said she hasn’t decided whether to appeal.
Bessinger presented witnesses and documents to support her contention that Pinckney no longer lives in his boyhood home in Ridgeland, that his wife lives in Lexington with their children and that he is a minister in Charleston.
Pinckney said he moved a few years ago to his cousin’s house in the same precinct in Ridgeland when the home he grew up in needed massive repairs. His lawyer put into evidence more than a dozen tax, bank and other documents that have a Ridgeland address.
The lawyer also produced photos of the cousin’s home showing Pinckney has his own entrance.
Bessinger argued that even if the Democrat still lives in his district, he isn’t a good representative because he is rarely home.
Pinckney won with 66 percent of the vote in the district, which covers parts of Beaufort, Charleston, Hampton, Jasper, Colleton and Allendale counties.
A protest over Republican state Sen. Shane Massey’s re-election was tossed because the challenger was not on the general election ballot.