AIKEN - Residents of Aiken County who are not registered to vote still have time to get their names on the books before the Nov. 4 special election.
This Saturday is the last day to register to vote in the special state House elections and in municipal elections for city council seats in Aiken and North Augusta. All voters in these elections must be registered at least 30 days prior to the scheduled date of the election.
Those wishing to register may do so at the Aiken County Registration and Elections Office, 736 Richland Ave. West in Aiken, or at any of the designated "motor-voter" sites such as the Department of Motor Vehicle and Department of Social Services offices.
Absentee votes must be in the voter registration office by election day, said Frances Pennington, assistant deputy director of the Aiken County office.
Aiken County voters go to the polls on Nov. 4 to tie up some loose ends left dangling from the state's latest attempt at reapportionment that began as an aftermath of the 1990 U.S. census. Since then, the state has been forced, either by the U.S. Justice Department or the federal courts, to redraw some or all of its legislative districts three times.
When the second version of the state's redistricting effort was overturned by the courts after the 1996 elections, 30 districts of the S.C. House of Representatives were redrawn for the third time and 30 representatives who were elected to office were told they had to run again in 1997. That included all House members representing Aiken County.
Not all must face opponents, however. Democrat William Clyburn, a Democrat whose District 82 covers a portion of Aiken County and all of Edgefield, is unopposed, as is North Augusta's District 83 representative, Scott Beck.
Mr. Beck, a Republican, began the election season with an opponent, Democrat Don Denny, but Mr. Denny withdrew from the campaign and moved out of state, leaving Mr. Beck unopposed for re-election.
Three Republicans have opposition. Rudy Mason, District 81, faces newcomer Brian Lisk, a student at the University of South Carolina-Aiken and Libertarian candidate Sarah Flemming. James Roland Smith, District 84, squares off against Tom W. Anderson, an insurance adjuster who ran unsuccessfully against him in 1996. Charles Sharpe, District 86, a member of the House since 1985, has been challenged by J. Carroll Bryant, who ran an unsuccessful campaign against Solicitor Barbara Morgan in 1992.
In North Augusta, Republican candidate Ken McDowell has no competition for the at-large seat on city council formerly occupied by Mayor Lark Jones. In Aiken, Republicans Michael Anaclerio, Robert "Skipper" Perry, and Eric M. Radford and Democrat Lessie B. Price are also unopposed for re-election for city council.