This case involves a dispute over the results of a town council election in Atlantic Beach, South Carolina, held on November 3, 2009. Carolyn Cole and Windy Price appeal the circuit court order affirming the Town of Atlantic Beach Municipal Election Commission's decision to de-certify and order a new election for two Atlantic Beach town councilmember positions. The state Supreme Court reverses the circuit court order and concluded that the original certification of the election, declaring Cole and Price as the winners, should be restored.
Section 5-15-30 requires the Municipal Election Commission to take a number of actions within 48 hours of the candidates" filing protests - conduct a hearing, decide the issues, file a report that includes the transcribed testimony and exhibits with the county clerk, notify the parties of the decision, and order a new election, if necessary. The Atlantic Beach MEC delayed ordering the transcript and final order by several months. During that time, the parties protesting the election remained in their town council positions. The Court believed "the delay was a direct attempt by the MEC to interfere with the full and fair expression of the voters" choice." Therefore, the Court vacated the MEC's decision to de-certify and order a new election, and ordered the original certification of Cole and Price as winners to be restored. The Court further held that Cole and Price should immediately begin serving in their capacities as town councilmembers.