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Berkeley Co. candidate 'letting process play out' after ballot gaffe in District 100 race leads to recount

Tom Fernandez talks about the issue Wednesday morning on his Facebook page. (Source: Facebook) Tom Fernandez talks about the issue Wednesday morning on his Facebook page. (Source: Facebook)
BERKELEY COUNTY, SC (WCSC) -

A Berkeley County election which had an issue with ballots will have a recount Friday while the losing candidate weighs his options as to what to do next.

Tom Fernandez lost to District 100 incumbent Sylleste Davis Tuesday in the District 100 race by just 42 votes, 2,529 to 2,487, which calls for an automatic recount because the margin of victory was within one percent. The larger issue is the race didn't even appear on some ballots for voters when it should have.

Berkeley County Board of Elections Director Adam Hammons admitted Wednesday that some voters were given incorrect ballots because of a mistake from the poll workers at the Berkeley Intermediate School precinct not understanding ballot styles.

"I'm thinking okay, one area, that's really not a problem," Fernandez said in a Facebook Live video posted to his public candidate page Wednesday morning. "Then my phone started blowing up all day with people saying 'You're not on the ballot, you're not on the ballot, you're not on the ballot. Most of them weren't actually inside District 100. Believe it or not these district lines are wonky, Santee Circle is not inside District 100. But 100 percent of Cane Bay Plantation is inside district 100 and we already have reports of people who live in Cane Bay Plantation who went to go vote and the house 100 race was not on the ballot."

Some voters noticed the issue after they cast their ballot, but by then it was too late. A voter must notice a mistake on a ballot before they cast it in order to receive a new one because the votes can't be recast. 

While 19 provisional ballots were cast, that's not enough to make up the 42-vote difference and Hammons doesn't anticipate a recount which will take place Friday to change the outcome of the election. 

Fernandez said he has been in touch with some attorneys, and raised the possibility of a special election. 

"This process is very simple, he said. "My phone has been blowing up this morning. People are asking me not to concede so if y'all don't want me to concede, I won't."

Hammons said not to rule out the possibility, but he doesn't see any route to a special election happening in the future. 

Calls to Davis' campaign were not immediately returned.

Copyright 2018 WCSC. All rights reserved.

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