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Georgetown County holds hearing over councilman's residency

GEORGETOWN COUNTY, SC (WCBD) - Georgetown County Election Commission board members voted unanimously that a member of County Council is not living at his address of record.

The Board of the Elections here in Georgetown County met ON Friday to hold a hearing on whether county council member Austin Beard is legally able to be eligible for his county council seat.

Several members of the community, including the NAACP, filed a protest against Beard earlier this year.

They said he does not live in District 5, which is where he represents.

Beards attorney argued that the Magnolia Avenue property that he has listed on his application as a candidate is Beard’s domicile. He said Beard has lived with his wife in Georgetown for the past several years due to medical needs.

Beard admitted that he has never lived at the Magnolia address.

After the hearing was over, the Election Commission voted unanimously that he was not residing at the Magnolia property, and therefore does not meet eligibility requirements to represent that district.

I talked with Beard after the hearing to get his thoughts on a possible resignation of his seat.

“That is an option, yes, rather than subject either myself or friends and family to further harassment, that may be an option to take under consideration,” he said.

There are basically four options moving forward. The governor or a court could remove Beard from office, Beard could appeal Friday’s decision, or he could resign.

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