A Richland County judge on Thursday sided with the South Carolina Democratic Party, ruling that Labor Party candidates for governor, lieutenant governor and U.S. House cannot be on the November ballot.
Gary Votour, the Labor Party’s nominee for governor, says he plans to appeal.
In her ruling, Judge Alison Lee said the State Election Commission can begin preparing ballots for November’s general election so they can be sent to military and overseas voters by Sept. 24.
“Nothing in this order shall be construed to prevent the Election Commission from proceeding immediately to prepare the general election ballots,” Lee wrote.
The South Carolina Democratic Party sued to throw Votour, his lieutenant governor running mate Harold Geddings and 1st Congressional District nominee Lucus Faulk off the ballot because the party did not hold a nominating convention by a state mandated May 15 deadline.
“This mandate was not followed by the Labor Party, which held its nominating convention in July 2022,” Lee wrote. “The question in this case is controlled by statutes that set deadlines for certain activities connected with the election process. State law is clear and unambiguous on the deadlines and no exceptions are provided.”
The Labor Party in July nominated Votour, Geddings and Faulk during a convention and formally sent those names to the election commission before the Aug. 15 certification deadline. The nominating convention was held despite an internal Labor Party dispute over whether to even have candidates on the ballot.
Votour, who initially sought the state’s Democratic Party nomination for governor but left that race over a disagreement over support for a $15 minimum wage, said he plans to file an appeal with the state Supreme Court.
“I am extremely disappointed in our legal system,” Votour said. “The S.C. Democratic Party has interfered in the affairs of the S.C. Labor Party. They waited until the last minute to file this lawsuit to deny my constitutional right to be on the ballot, and we were not even allowed enough time to find legal representation.”