S.C. Election Commission turns down protests of Sen. Pinckney, Rep. Vick elections

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.