The Senate moved forward a bill Wednesday to clarify how to file to run for office in the state. Confusion over language and deadlines caused 183 candidates to be disqualified.
Senator Chip Campsen explained that S. 1516 is only a future fix. “This is a permanent fix prospectively moving forward so we don’t have a similar situation arise again. That’s the least we could do. We at least shouldn’t go home this session without making a fix that is prospective so we don’t create the same fiasco in the future,” said Campsen.
The bill passed a key vote in the Senate, but could be amended before moving to the House. Candidates still have to electronically file a statement of economic interest before they file as a candidate.
“The election official who receives your statement of candidacy must confirm or verify that you have filed that electronic statement of economic interest that’s easy to do. You can go online to the state ethics committee website and see who has filed and who hasn’t,” said Campsen.
Lexington Senator Jake Knotts, who last week blocked a bill that tried to make retroactive changes, supported this version of the bill in committee and in the full Senate.
“This is a long time coming for this bill and this type of legislation,” said Knotts. “If we’d had that this year we wouldn’t have the problem we have on the ballot today. We’d have people that filed, you’d know it was filing, you’d know it was certified.”
Candidates who were disqualified from the upcoming primary disagree with Knotts’ assertion, saying party officials gave them the wrong information when they filed.
The bill passed second reading but can be amended before going to the House.