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Commission: 2 of 8 voters could have voted; results from July 8 election stand

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Although the Manning Municipal Election Commission accepted that two voters living on Sunset Drive in Manning may have been disenfranchised in the special election held July 8 for the District 5 Manning City Council seat, the three-member commission noted those voters would not have changed the result. The commission - Margaret Walker, J. Wilder and Chairwoman Beatrice Simon - certified the results of last week's election in turning down a protest from write-in candidate Sharmane Anderson, who came in third with 28 votes. Julius Dukes Jr. and Gloria Frierson will face-off Tuesday in a run-off for the seat. Dukes received 40 votes to Frierson's 31. W. Louis Griffith came in fourth, netting 27 votes. Anderson said she will not appeal. Dukes said he thought the hearing was fair, and that he supported Anderson's right to protest the count. "She was within her rights to question the vote," Dukes said. "Anytime you have a question, you should be able to proceed with that. We are in a country where you have that right." Anderson presented two witnesses, Ericka Epps and Kathleen DuRant, who were poll watchers for her last Tuesday. Both women said they saw voters turned away from the polls after being told they didn't live in the district. The women were not given provisional ballots, but were instead directed to Clarendon County Voter Registration. Voter Registration Director Shirley Black-Oliver testified before the commission - which was legally advised by attorney John Moyland of the Wyche Firm of Columbia. She said her records indicated that six of Anderson's challenged voters did not live within the district. She said two living in the same household on Sunset Drive were in dispute.

"The city records show that they are within the district, but the records that we have from state Research and Statistics show they live outside the district," Black-Oliver said. Aside from Sunset Drive, Anderson presented voters living on North Meadow Drive. She did not have an address for one of her eight voters, for which she presented letters and affidavits. "We have determined that only two voters were affected during this election," Walker said as the commission outlined its decision. "However, those two voters would not have changed the outcome. Therefore I vote that we certify the election results." The decision was unanimous. "I'm going to go forward and keep trying to do what's right, but I am not going to appeal the decision," Anderson said. Asked if she was done with politics, or if she would run for the seat again in four years, Anderson said it "depends on what the people say." Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Cypress Center for Tuesday's runoff between Dukes and Frierson.

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