Special election expected to fill last Charleston County School Board seat

Published: Nov. 28, 2022 at 5:57 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 28, 2022 at 8:45 PM EST
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - After weeks of digging through state laws, it looks like the final school board seat in Charleston County will be filled by special election after the person voters elected effectively vacated her position.

Incumbent Erica Cokley won reelection despite unofficially dropping out of the race months before voters went to the box office. But on Nov. 18, Cokley did not show up to be sworn in.

Before the board was reorganized to have members represent the same single-member districts as Charleston County Council members, vacancies would be filled by the governor based on the recommendation of the local Charleston legislative delegation. However, when state lawmakers approved the changes, they also inadvertently changed how vacancies are filled by making reference in the legislation to state law that says all vacancies would be filled by special elections unless “otherwise provided”.

State Sen. Chip Campsen, who would have led the effort to make an appointment to the governor, says he’s asked for Attorney General Alan Wilson to render an official opinion on the confusing situation. However, he says it’s pretty clear that the seat will be filled by a special election.

“I have already been in touch with the Attorney General’s office and they have researched it. I have had senate attorneys research it and both of them have independently come to that conclusion but I want to get an Attorney General’s opinion to make it clear,” Campsen said. “I have asked for an expedited opinion because a lot of people are concerned about how this is going to happen.”

Campsen says he does not know when the opinion will be finished or when a special election will be held.

Neither the Charleston County Board of Election nor the Attorney General’s office were immediately available for comment.