Local Election HQ: IOP Mayoral race waiting on provisional votes, decision coming Thursday

Your Local Election HQ

ISLE OF PALMS, S.C. (WCBD) – Isle of Palms residents are waiting to see who will become the island’s next mayor. Phillip Pounds holds a narrow lead over Ryan Buckhannon (1,006 votes to 929 votes) but the race remains too close to call with one hundred percent of the results tabulated. The outcome will be decided by 17 provisional votes on Thursday, either giving Pounds enough votes to win or sending the election to a runoff.

The 17 provisional votes will determine whether or not Isle of Palms residents will have to wait two more weeks to find out who their next mayor will be. Phillip Pounds has technically crossed the threshold of 50% of the total vote plus one vote to win the election but the outstanding provisional votes could be enough to raise the threshold and push the election into a runoff.

Isle of Palms voters had one of the strongest showings around the Lowcountry with nearly half of all registered voters turning out to vote.

“Isle of Palms had the highest turnout for any municipality in this election,” says Isaac Cramer, Executive Director for the Charleston County Board of Elections.

Isle of palms voters making their voices heard in an election that had plenty of build up. Now the two top candidates and island residents are waiting to see who will be the next mayor.

The 17 provisional votes could determine a winner after being researched by election officials and then either being certified or denied. Officials spent Wednesday researching the votes validity.

“And we will have the final determination on whether or not there will be a runoff,” says Cramer. “If there is no runoff, then Phillip Pounds will be elected for mayor.”

Pounds and Buckhannon are separated by less than a hundred votes and while Pounds has met the 50% plus one vote to win, 17 provisional votes could push the threshold for needed votes to win higher and force a runoff election on November 16th.

“The provisional will make it an outright win for a candidate or a runoff in two weeks,” says Cramer.

A provisional vote can happen for a couple reasons. Some possible reasons include a voter who hasn’t registered to vote showing up to vote on Election Day, showing up to the wrong precinct to vote, having the address registered, forgetting a photo ID or more.

Due to the votes being challenged by an election clerk, the Board of Elections has to research the votes before then deciding whether or not the votes are valid.

Political Analyst John Brisini believes a runoff election to determine the next Mayor on the Isle of Palms is highly possible. The decision will come from county election leaders on Thursday.

“Runoff elections are considered brand new elections, so you’ll see the candidates out there again campaigning,” says Brisini. “Their contribution cycles renew.”

Cramer says a recount of votes will not be needed. The votes will be certified Thursday morning to determine the next steps. Cramer says the results show just how important it is to get out and vote even in off-election years.

“Our local elections matter, each vote matters,” says Cramer. “So a lot of folks who may be watching this at home, your vote does matter.”

Count on your local election headquarters to bring you the very latest updates as we learn more during Thursday morning’s certification hearing.

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