GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – People living in Greenville County will get to vote for sheriff twice in 2020. That’s because there will be both a special election and a general election for the position.
With former sheriff Will Lewis convicted and serving time, Greenville County will be looking to elect the top cop spot.
The filing period for the special election will be from November 15 to the 23. Almost immediately after that, candidates will have to gear up for the regular race for the position.
“We really couldn’t plan until it actually happened. And then when that happened, that put a sequence of dates and times into place,” Greenville County Director of Elections Conway Belangia said.
He said it’s anyone’s guess at this point as to how many people will run in the special election.
“We can have anywhere from two to 40. Now are we going to have 40? No. But we may have six or eight. That’s not out of the realm of possibility,” said Belangia.
Filing for the race starts on November 15. After that, the choices will become much clearer.
“Until noon on Saturday the 23 of November, when filing closes, we’ll know who is and who’s not [running],” said Belangia.
Even so, prospective candidates can be seen campaigning already.
“I ran into people who had on campaign material that said sheriff of Greenville County, handing out their cards and campaign literature,” Balengia said.
Still, those people will have to gather signatures, file with a party and pay a fee to get their names on the ballot.
The special election primary and runoff will happen in January. The special election itself will be on March 10. Less than a week later, the whole thing will start again.
“The good thing is at least by the time they get to the filing in March for the big election in November the field should have been narrowed down some,” Balengia said.
Filing in the general election for sheriff will open on March 16.
Belangia said by state law, the special election has to happen. He also said that because of the power a position like sheriff holds, voters demand a voice.
“They want to be able to choose who is the chief law enforcement officer in the county like it’s been done forever,” Belangia said.
Right now, Johnny Mack Brown is the interim sheriff appointed to the position. Whoever wins the special election will serve as sheriff through the end of the current term, then the person who wins the general election will take over.