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Tensions were high Monday night at Loris City Hall when four out of six council members voted in favor of local elections being handled by the Horry County Voters Registration and Elections instead of the Loris Election Commission. 

The motion was passed on a second reading, thus solidifying the decision. The decision was not favorable among many of the locals present at the council meeting. 

"Why attempt to fix something that's not broken?" asked local woman Kenya Wright during the public hearing. "You have a city filled with some really intelligent people very capable of being on the election commission. Do you not trust your own citizens? Are they not competent enough to handle our own elections?"

Mayor Todd Harrelson voted in favor of Loris elections being handled at the county level because of the vacant seat on the city's election commission.

"The election commission that we do have is one person short. Council has known about that for over two years but that spot has not been filled," Harrelson said. "The election commission also, in my discussion with Vincent Powers, is not against the county running this election, so you have your own election commission not against the county running this election."

Harrelson also said there is no shortage of poll workers in the city and that Loris locals can still be poll workers at the elections when they are being handled by the county. 

Some of the public comments were concerning the cost of making this change. 

"I don't agree on this. I think our business needs to stay in our town," local woman Donna Arnette said. "Why should it have to go out and us have to pay for that because I think it's wrong and I think it should stay right here in our town." 

Interim city administrator Clay Young said last month that it would cost the city between $4,000 and $5,000 for Horry County to take over the elections and that it costs Loris $1,500. 

The change, however, will not cause a millage increase, so it won't come out of citizens' pockets, according to Harrelson. 

Councilman Lewis C. Hardee and Councilman Michael Suggs were the two council members to vote against it and each of them said that they have not heard of any citizens being in favor of election responsibilities being outsourced. 

"I have not had one citizen come to me and say, 'I'm in favor of transferring the election to the county," Hardee said. 

Suggs said he has not heard any valid reason as to why the responsibility should go to the county.

"The people of Loris are capable and willing to run the elections," he said. 

The mayor, Councilwoman Joan Gause, Councilwoman Andrea Coleman and Councilwoman Jan Vescovi all voted in favor of the transfer.

Reach Bryn by email or through Twitter with the handle @BrynDEddy. 


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