Candidate filings in for Steele Creek

jmarks@lakewyliepilot.comJuly 30, 2013 

— Steele Creek residents have the list of candidates they’ll choose from this fall, as York County tests improvements to its candidate filing process.

In Steele Creek, candidates for several offices are known. Filing ended there July 19. Steele Creek’s seat on the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education comes down to Thelma Byers-Bailey or incumbent Richard McElrath. They’ll face off Nov. 10 for a four-year term.

Also running are four Democrats and two Republicans for mayor of Charlotte. Democrats Patrick Cannon, Gary Dunn, James Mitchell and Lucille Puckett square off in a Sept. 10 primary, as will Republicans Edwin Peacock and David Rice.

Charlotte City Council Dist. 3 includes all Steele Creek residents who live in city limits. Candidates for that race are Democrat LaWana Mayfield, Libertarian Travis Wheat and Republican Eric Netter.

A statewide run of ballot confusion in York County last year led to changes on how candidates run for public office. York County is about to find out how those changes will work.

Municipal elections take place this fall in Clover, Fort Mill, Hickory Grove, McConnells, Rock Hill, Sharon, Smyrna, Tega Cay and York. Candidate filing for all but Rock Hill and Sharon, which is underway already, begins Aug. 7 and wraps up Sept. 6.

A year ago candidates throughout the state saw their names on ballots, then removed, after missing what many called an unclear deadline for submitting economic interest statements. Some of those candidates, like eventual state House Dist. 26 winner Raye Felder in Fort Mill, returned to the ballot as unaffiliated petition candidates.

Felder and colleagues in the legislature eventually passed a bill that streamlined the process that almost excluded her.

“Election reform was major,” she said. “It does try to clarify the fiasco that happened last year.”

Legislators worked to avoid a similar problem in future election cycles. Now economic interest forms are submitted online to the state ethics commission rather than the county election office. The county office provides information for candidates on how the forms can be submitted, but no longer takes them.

“They tried to eliminate as much confusion as possible,” said Alan Helms, deputy director with the York County Voter Registration and Elections office.

Also, a missed deadline with the ethics commission can result in fines. It won’t, as happened last year, mean candidates being removed from the ballot.

“I think this will resolve it,” Felder said. “Due diligence has been done.”

Lake Wylie’s local seat, the Dist. 2 post on York County Council, isn’t up for election this year. Voting on all seven Council seats takes place every two years. Councilman Bruce Henderson said at a recent public event the question came of lengthening and staggering terms.

Henderson said elections every other year create the “temptation to calculate” decisions based on coming contests. Having four-year terms, which are more common statewide, might be a good move for the county even if one or more Council members has to take a shortened term to stagger them.

“I’d be willing to be the first one,” Henderson said.

The coming fall elections will be significant for local communities. Seven of the nine municipalities will vote for mayors. In all there are 40 seats up for vote, with no municipality deciding on fewer than three offices. Elections in all but Rock Hill take place Nov. 5.

The seats of Councilmen Nathan Blythe and Larry Huntley, along with Councilwoman Guynn Savage, come due in Fort Mill. Mayor George Sheppard and Council members Dottie Hersey and Stephen Perkins have terms up in Tega Cay.

There also will be a change for voters this year. Photo identification will be required at the polls. Acceptable forms of ID are a state driver’s license, state Department of Motor Vehicles ID card, state voter registration card with photo, federal military ID and U.S. passport.

Registered voters without any of those identifications can stop by the elections office at 13 S. Congress Street in York to have one made.

Otherwise rules this year are the same as for past elections. Helms said his department still recommends that anyone with new personal information since the last election get it updated.

“Any time you move or change addresses, let us know just to make sure you don’t have any problems on Election Day,” he said.

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