Originally created 11/21/00

Candidates lose bids for district revotes

EDGEFIELD, S.C. - A three-member election commission decided Thursday that Edgefield County voters would not head back to the polls.

Tim Padgett, a county council candidate for District 2, was not granted a revote because some residents were told to vote in the wrong districts on Election Day.

School board member Kenneth Collier also was denied his request for a revote. Mr. Collier lost the District 6 race to Sallie Cooks by 26 votes and had asked for a revote because of problems at the polls.

Mr. Padgett filed a protest last week after many residents complained that his race was not on their ballots.

Mr. Padgett brought a list with the names of 34 residents who live in District 2, encompassing Edgefield, who were not allowed to vote in the election for that office. He had a list of 21 residents who lived outside of the district but were able to vote.

That number more than made up for the 22-vote margin by which the Republican lost to Democrat Bill Vaughan, he said.

"I'm very disappointed in the outcome. I feel like we proved our burden of proof according to the state election commission," Mr. Padgett said. "There were enough mistakes made that obviously could have changed the outcome of the election."

He said he did not know whether he would appeal the decision.

`I'm going to sleep on it tonight," he said.

Mr. Vaughan said it was ultimately the voters' responsibility to make sure they vote in the right district.

Election Commissioner Eddie Feagin said he didn't believe Mr. Padgett deserved a revote because he questioned some of the addresses supplied to the commission.

In the District 6 decision, Mr. Collier said he would talk with his attorney and think things over before he decided to appeal.

His attorney, Michael Medlock, said he had hoped for a different verdict. He said he blames faulty machines for costing Mr. Collier some votes. Polls at Douglas Elementary in Trenton broke down for nearly two hours on Election Day.

"It's clear. It's simple," he said. "No one was allowed to vote by machine or paper ballot for nearly two hours (in Trenton)."

State law provides for "unofficial ballots" for those who wish to vote while machines are inoperative, but instead of allowing voters to cast paper ballots, a poll worker incorrectly told them the precinct would stay open until 8:45 p.m.

The precinct instead closed at 7 p.m., which is required by state law.

Mr. Feagin said he voted to uphold the election because Mr. Collier did not provide proof that a revote was necessary.

Reach Katie Throne at (803) 279-6895.


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