GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – The Greenville County Republican Party has voted to overturn the results of a primary election after longtime county councilman Joe Dill protested the results.
Nearly two weeks ago, 24-year Greenville County council member, Joe Dill, lost to candidate Joey Russo. The results revealed he lost by just over 100 votes in the District 17 Republican Primary.
Since those results were announced, Dill has protested his concerns, claiming there were voter irregularities.
“I think there were problems with people voting. I think that they didn’t understand the process, the machines, operations. There are several places they have to check that the people they voted for ended up in the final count,” said Dill.
On Thursday, the Greenville County Republican Party held a special meeting enabling Dill to present evidence of those claims. He believes the votes on election day were not properly counted, though he has not shared his evidence with 7NEWS.
“It doesn’t matter if it was in my race or for the man running against me. All of the votes were not counted. I had enough phone calls and evidence that leads me to believe this,” said Dill. “Every vote needs to be counted.”
The county party voted to uphold his claims and overturned the election.
“If there had been a lot more votes, I could have said well the people want to go the other way with the developers,” said Dill. “But that’s not what I saw. I saw a small group of votes and it was not enough to convince me that my position of direction was wrong.”
On Friday, opposing candidate and election winner, Joey Russo, filed his appeal to the state party, asking them to uphold the results.
“The county party voted to uphold his (Joe Dill’s) primary protest. We already received an appeal for that ruling and we will take it up by law sometime before next Saturday,” said Claire Brady, communications director for the South Carolina Republican Party.
Russo’s attorney, Sloan Ellis, shared a statement on his behalf Friday:
“Last night’s hearing was an orchestrated attempt to overturn the clear will of Republican primary voters in District 17. Among many other reasons, since Joey was not served with Mr. Dill’s protest as required by law, the committee’s decision is not valid and cannot stand. We have already appealed this ruling to the South Carolina Republican Party executive committee and have asked them to certify the original results and declare Joey Russo the winner.
Joey looks forward to the general election and ultimately representing the citizens of District 17 on the county council.”
Meanwhile, the South Carolina Republican Party said the results are not final.
“There is a next step. It is not final yet. They voted to do that but it doesn’t mean it’s happening yet,” said Brady.
Next, the appeal will be viewed at the state level.
“We will have an appeal hearing, by law, before next Saturday at noon,” said Brady. “The state executive committee will figure out a time that works best for everyone to come back to Columbia and the committee will take a vote.”
According to the South Carolina Republican Party, each candidate will have another chance to present their arguments. The executive committee will ask questions, deliberate then take a final vote. We’re told that ruling will be final unless a candidate chooses to take it further into the Judicial System.
Greenville County’s election supervisor, Conway Belangia, would not comment on Dill’s allegations on voter irregularities. He told us he would likely be called in as a witness as a part of the legal process.