Laurens County, South Carolina – The polls will remain open until 7 p.m. tonight, Tuesday, Aug. 1, as many District 55 voters will decide who fills Seats 1, 3 and 7 on the District 55 Board of Trustees.
The board, which has barely had a quorum for several months, lost three members quickly this spring, requiring today’s special election.
A run-off election has been set for Aug. 15 in case one or more of the races require a run-off between the top two vote-getters.
Early voting numbers were low, said Lynne West, director of the Board of Voter Registration and Elections for Laurens County.
The special election was originally planned for July 11 to fill the seat of former Seat 7 Trustee Bubba Rawl, who resigned April 10 to accept a position with the state Department of Education.
However, special elections for two additional District 55 school board seats were necessitated when Seat 1 Trustees Todd Varner and Seat 3 trustee Neal Patterson both resigned prior to a school board meeting on Monday evening, May 1.
Patterson said his family had moved out of the Seat 3 boundaries, and Varner said he was uncomfortable with the level of discord in multiple board meetings during April.
There are 11 candidates vying to fill the three vacant seats.
The four candidates for Seat 1 include Kelvin L. Byrd, Tabitha Keitt, James Lang and Jerome D. Parson. All the Seat 1 candidates live in Gray Court.
Seat 3 candidates include Adam Brock of Waterloo, Adam Brown of Laurens, Heather Hall Elders of Laurens and Angela Lowe Wells of Waterloo.
Candidates for Seat 7 include Shensea Gilmore of Enoree, Chip Jenkins of Laurens and Josie Cummings Parker of Laurens.
District 55 residents can vote only if they live within the areas of District 55 Seats 1, 3 or 7, West said.
“District 55 elects its board members by majority, and it requires a 50 percent plus one,” West said. “The top two highest vote-getters would be in a runoff so, if it’s needed, a runoff date has been set for Tuesday, Aug. 15.”
Precincts open for the special election include Jones, Owings, Gray Court, Greenpond, Cooks, Youngs, Ora-Lanford, Hickory Tavern, Maddens, Mountville, Waterloo, Ekom, Mount Olive, Laurens 3, Bailey, Wattsville, Lydia Mill, Ora-Lanford, Long Branch and Clinton Mill.
Not all voters from those precincts are eligible to vote for the open District 55 seats.
Voters can learn which seat represents them on the District 55 school board by calling the Voter Registration and Elections office at 864-984-4431 or by searching online at https://laurenscounty.us/voter-registration-elections/.
For candidate profiles and precinct locations see the July 19 issue of The Laurens County Advertiser.
This story originally ran page 1, July 26, 2023 issue of The Laurens County Advertiser.