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Title 7 - Elections
SECTION 7-9-10. Certification and decertification of political parties.
Political parties desiring to nominate candidates for offices to be voted on in a general or special election shall, before doing so, have applied to the State Election Commission (Commission) for certification as such. Parties shall nominate candidates of that party on a regular basis, as provided in this title, in order to remain certified. Any certified political party that fails to organize on the precinct level as provided by Section 7-9-50, hold county conventions as provided by Sections 7-9-70 and 7-9-80, and hold a state convention as provided by Section 7-9-100; that fails to nominate candidates for national, state, multi-county district, countywide, or less than countywide office by convention or party primary as provided by Sections 7-11-20, 7-11-30, and 7-13-40; and that fails to certify the candidates as provided by Section 7-13-350 in at least one of two consecutive general elections held on the first Tuesday following the first Monday in November of an even-numbered year, or that fails to nominate and certify candidates in any other election which might be held within the period of time intervening between the two general elections, must be decertified by the State Election Commission. The party must be notified in writing of its decertification at the last address of record. If the notification of decertification is returned as undeliverable, it must be placed on file in the office of the State Election Commission and with the Secretary of State.
Any decertified party or any noncertified party, organization, or association may obtain certification as a political party at any time by filing with the Commission a petition for the certification signed by ten thousand or more registered electors residing in this State, giving the name of the party, which must be substantially different from the name of any other party previously certified.
No petition for certification may be submitted to the Commission later than six months prior to any election in which the political party seeking certification wishes to nominate candidates for public office.
At the time a petition is submitted to the Commission for certification, the Commission shall issue a receipt to the person submitting the petition which reflects the date the petition was submitted and the total number of signatures contained therein. Once the petition is received by the Commission, the person submitting the petition shall not submit or add additional signatures.
If the Commission determines, after checking the validity of the signatures in the petition, that it does not contain the required signatures of registered electors, the person submitting the petition must be notified and shall not submit any new petition seeking certification as a political party under the same name for one year from the date the petition was rejected.
Once a petition for certification has been submitted and rejected by the Commission, the same signatures may not be submitted in any subsequent petition to certify a new political party.
Once submitted for verification, a petition for certification may not be returned to the political party, organization, or association seeking certification, but shall become a part of the permanent records of the Commission.
SECTION 7-9-20. Qualifications for party membership and voting in primary election.
The qualifications for membership in a certified party and for voting at a party primary election include the following: The applicant for membership, or voter, must be at least eighteen years of age or become so before the succeeding general election, and must be a registered elector and a citizen of the United States and of this State. No person may belong to any party club or vote in any primary unless he is a registered elector. The state convention of any political party, organization, or association in this State may add by party rules to the qualifications for membership in the party, organization, or association and for voting at the primary elections if such qualifications do not conflict with the provisions of this section or with the Constitution and laws of this State or of the United States.
SECTION 7-9-30. Party clubs; title, organization, officers, and committees.
One party club may be organized in each general election voting precinct provided for by law and each of the clubs shall have a distinct title: "The __________ Club of the __________ Party." Each club shall elect a president and one or more vice-presidents, a secretary and treasurer, a precinct or club secretary, and a district executive committeeman for each polling place within a precinct and may have such working committees as it considers necessary.
In the absence of the precinct or club district executive committeeman or in case of his inability to act, unless it is otherwise provided in the party rules, the club district executive committeeman shall designate another member of the club to perform his duties or the members of the club shall elect a club district executive committeeman to take his place.
The officers of the party club shall be reported to the clerk of court of the county prior to the county convention; any club which does not reorganize before the county convention but reorganizes thereafter as provided in Section 7-9-50 shall report the names of its officers to the clerk of court within seven days. The reports shall be public record.
SECTION 7-9-40. Party club membership and activities; membership lists; one voting place per club; absentee voting.
Members of a political party must belong to the club in the voting precinct set forth in their respective registration records. The poll list of the primary of the preceding primary election is the prima facie list of the members of each club for the purpose of club organization and the election of delegates to the county convention. There may not be more than one voting place for each club. Federal, state, and county officers temporarily residing at or near the capital or county seat may retain their membership and voting rights in their former home clubs. No person may take part in any club meeting, vote in any primary, or be elected a delegate to any county convention except in the club of the voting precinct set forth in his or her registration record.
SECTION 7-9-50. Meetings of clubs.
The president or five members may call all special meetings of the club, except for reorganization, provided for in the succeeding paragraph. At least forty-eight hours' public notice of all special meetings must be given in a newspaper of general circulation in the area where the club is situated.
The clubs must meet for reorganization at the usual place of meeting, at the time and on the day as determined by the county committee no later than two weeks prior to the county convention. A notice must be published by the county committee once a week for two consecutive weeks not more than three weeks nor less than two weeks before the meeting date in a newspaper having general circulation in the county. If an existing club fails to reorganize on the day fixed, the county chairman may fix a day for the club to meet for reorganization by giving two weeks' notice.
SECTION 7-9-60. County committees.
The clubs in each county shall be held together and operate under the control of a county committee, which shall consist of one member from each club to be elected by the club and shall also include the State Executive Committeeman from such county. The committee, when elected, shall appoint its own officers (except the chairman, who shall be elected by the county convention), who shall not necessarily be members of the committee. A vacancy in the membership of the committee shall be filled by the club through the loss of whose member by death, resignation or otherwise the vacancy occurs, except that if the office of the county chairman shall become vacant by death, resignation or otherwise, the committee may fill the vacancy by electing a chairman to serve until the organization of the next regular county convention. An officer of the county committee who is not a member of the committee shall not be entitled to vote on any question, except the chairman and then only in case of a tie vote. The tenure of office of the committee shall be until the day of the county convention in each general election year.
SECTION 7-9-70. County conventions; notice, time and delegates.
County conventions must be held during a twelve-month period ending March thirty-first of every general election year during a month determined by the state committee as provided in Section 7-9-100. The county committee shall set the date, time, and location during the month designated by the state committee for the county convention to be held; however, the date set by the county committee for the county convention must be at least two weeks prior to the state convention. When a month in a nongeneral election year is chosen for the county convention, it must be held for the purpose of reorganization only. The date, time, and location that the county convention must be reconvened during the general election year to nominate candidates for public office to be filled in the general election must be set by county committee. Notices, both for the convention to be held for reorganization and for the reconvened convention to nominate candidates, must be published by the county committee, once a week for two consecutive weeks, not more than three nor less than two weeks, before the day in a newspaper having general circulation in the county. The convention must be composed of delegates elected from the clubs in the county, one delegate for every twenty-five members and major fraction thereof, based upon the number of votes polled in the first primary of the preceding general election year or based upon the number of votes for presidential electors at the last preceding general election therefor from the precinct as determined by the state committee. The same basis must be used in all precincts; or if the last preceding nominations were by convention, the representation must be based upon the number of votes for presidential electors at the last preceding general election therefor from the precinct. The list of delegates certified to by the president and secretary of each club shall constitute the temporary roll of the county convention. Where new precincts have been created or where the areas of precincts have been redefined, the party executive committee of the affected counties shall apportion delegates from the clubs representing the precincts.
SECTION 7-9-80. County conventions; organization and conduct of business.
Each county convention shall be called to order by the county chairman and shall proceed to elect a temporary president, a temporary secretary and a committee on credentials for the purpose of organizing. When organized, it shall elect a permanent president, a secretary and treasurer. It shall also elect the county chairman, the county vice-chairman and a member of the State committee from the county and as many delegates to the State convention as triple the number of members from the county in the House of Representatives, plus one. But county conventions at their discretion may elect double the number of delegates in which case each delegate shall have one-half vote. The secretary of the convention shall keep a record of the proceedings in the minute book.
All officers except delegates shall be reported to the clerk of court of the county and to the Secretary of State prior to the State convention. The reports shall be public record.
SECTION 7-9-90. State committee.
The state committee is composed of one member from each county, elected by the county conventions, the state chairman and state vice-chairman, elected by the state convention; and for the Republican and Democratic party state committees, the president of the South Carolina Federation of Republican Women and the president of the South Carolina Federation of Democratic Women ex officio are members of their respective state committees. Those persons named as members of the national executive committee of a national party are ex officio members of the state committee. If the office of state chairman or state vice-chairman becomes vacant, the state committee may fill the vacancy by electing a chairman or vice-chairman to serve until the organization of the next regular state convention. The state committee shall choose its other officers, not necessarily from the membership. The state chairman may vote only in case of a tie. The state committee shall meet at the call of the state chairman or any five members and at a time and place as he may appoint. Vacancies on the state committee, other than in the offices of state chairman and state vice-chairman, and the presidents of the women's federations must be filled by the respective county committees. The members of the state committee shall continue in office for two years from the time of their election, and until their successors are elected. The state committee shall nominate presidential electors and a vacancy in the state ticket of electors or in the national committee of a party must be filled by the state committee by a majority of the whole committee.
SECTION 7-9-100. State convention.
The state convention shall meet at a location in this State determined by the state committee to have adequate facilities during a thirteen-month period ending May fifteenth of every general election year on a day and at a time fixed by the state committee and announced publicly at least ten days before the meeting. The state committee shall notify the delegates to the state convention of the accommodations that are available for the delegates during the convention. This listing must be as complete as practicable and must include the accommodations in close proximity to the convention site as well as any other accommodations that are chosen by the state committee. This notice must include the name and location of the accommodations, the cost per day, and any discounts or surcharges that are applicable during the period of the convention. Should the state committee fix the date for the state convention in a nongeneral election year, it must be held for the purpose of reorganization only. The convention to be held for the purpose of nominating candidates for public office to be filled in the general election must be held in the general election year. At the time that the state committee sets the date for the state convention it shall set what month during the twelve-month period ending March thirty-first of every general election year that the county convention must be held. If it sets a month in a nongeneral election year for the county conventions to be held for the purpose of reorganization, it must set a month during the general election year for the county convention to be reconvened for the purpose of nominating candidates for public office to be filled in the general election. Sufficient advance notice of the month set for county conventions must be given to county executive committees so that the public notices required by law may be met. The convention must be composed of delegates elected by the county conventions. Each county is entitled to one delegate for each six thousand residents of the county, according to the latest official United States Census, plus two additional members. If a county has a fractional portion of population of at least three thousand residents above its last six thousand resident figure it is entitled to an additional delegate. When the state convention assembles, it must be called to order by the chairman of the state committee. A temporary president must be nominated and elected by the convention, and after its organization the convention shall proceed immediately to the election of permanent officers and to the transaction of business. When the business has concluded it shall adjourn sine die, or may recess. The state chairman may recall the state convention into special session at any time he determines appropriate.
The officers of the state convention must be a president, vice president, two secretaries, and a treasurer. Each county delegation to a state convention may fill any vacancies therein. Any county failing or refusing to organize under the provisions of this title may not have representation in the state convention. The state officers must be reported to the Secretary of State and to the State Election Commission within fifteen days of their election and the reports must be public record.
SECTION 7-9-105. Use of state funds for state conventions prohibited.
No state funds shall in any manner be used for the purpose of holding conventions pursuant to the provisions of Section 7-9-100.
SECTION 7-9-110. Repealed by 1992 Act No. 253, Section 17, eff February 19, 1992.