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Open District 55 trustee seat to be filled in Tuesday special election

On Tuesday, July 14, two candidates from the Hickory Tavern and western Laurens County area of School District 55 will vie for the seat formerly held by Mark Earle, who resigned in February. 

The Board of Voter Registration and Elections for Laurens County is holding the special election for Seat 4, and polls in four precincts will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. next Tuesday. Absentee voting at the Historic Courthouse in Laurens is still available until Monday afternoon, July 13. 

The special election had initially been scheduled for April 28, but it was among many elections postponed during the state’s COVID-19 shutdown and has been rescheduled for this week. Three people filed for the seat soon after Earle’s resignation, and the ballot will include Mike Hughes, Betty Ann Neely and Keith Tripp, who withdrew from the race. 

“Keith Tripp is on the ballot but is not actually a candidate,” said Lynne West, the director of the Board of Voter Registration and Elections for Laurens County. “The data base was already coded before the state postponed the election so it was too late to remove it.” 

Polls will be open at 7 a.m. on July 14 in four precincts for voters to decide who the people want in the Seat 4 Trustee position. 

The majority of eligible voters will be voting at Hickory Tavern School, West said. However, there are also numerous voters who are eligible to vote at Trinity Ridge precinct, which is at Chestnut Ridge Baptist,; Greenpond, at Greenpond Volunteer Fire Department’s community building; and at Brewerton-Princeton precinct at Princeton Baptist Church. 

The District 55 seat and precinct information is listed on a person’s voter registration card, West said. They can also find out by going to, or by calling the voter registration office at 864-984-4431. 

Absentee voting is allowed until Monday, July 13  at 5 p.m.

In February when Earle sent in his letter of resignation, Board Chair Mark Bell explained that the school district would be required to reimburse the county for the cost of the special election. Earle had served about a year of his four-year term. 

Voters will also be heading to the polls in Ware Shoals on July 14 to select members of the Board of Trustees for District 51, and some of those eligible voters are also within Laurens County, West said. 

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