Lexington County candidates who were kicked off the primary ballot came together Tuesday to collect petition signatures for each other and get their names on the ballot in November.
"Candidates are helping each other out," said Brian Duncan, a petition candidate for Lexington Council District 5 who . "Even opponents are helping each other out."
A volunteer at Saxe Gotha Presbyterian Church collected signatures for Tommy Windsor and Suzanne Moore — both petition candidates for Clerk of Court.
"We're all working together because we realize this is much bigger than just our races," said Wes Howard, a petition candidate for Lexington Council District 3 who .
Two Supreme Court decisions left more than 250 candidates across the state ineligible for Tuesday's primary. Lexington County was hit hard, with party leaders disqualifying 17 candidates.
The court's original decision centered around a state law that says candidates must file a paper copy of their statement of economic interest forms at the same time they file for candidacy. The court ordered county parties to decertify candidates who didn't follow that law.
But ousted candidates say the law isn't clear.
"It's a law that's not the same for everyone, and it's an ambiguous law that not everyone understands," said Katrina Shealy, who is running as a petition candidate against Sen. Jake Knotts for the Senate District 23 seat.
"I think voters deserve a choice," Shealy said.
In order for ousted candidates to get their names on the November ballot, they must collect signatures from five percent of the registered voters that live in their district by July 16.
For Shealy, that means 2,664 signatures.
Shealy had volunteers collecting signatures at 15 polling locations Tuesday. At the Pond Branch Activity Center, she and volunteers had collected more than 100 by lunchtime.
"I'm hoping today that we'll get them all," Shealy said Tuesday.
Windsor and Moore, candidates for Clerk of Court, need even more signatures than Shealy — about 7,800 each.
Other candidates who have smaller numbers of registered voters in their districts, need fewer signatures.
County council candidate Duncan, whose district includes Red Bank, part of Lexington and South Congaree, needs 804 signatures.
"I look to get that today," he said. "If not today, this week. I'm not going to wait until the last minute."
County council candidate Howard needs a similar number of signatures — about 930.
In some cases, the line at the petition table was longer than the line to vote. Some voters said they were signing petitions for all the candidates just because they want to see choices on the November ballot.
"People are fed up," Howard said. "They're ready for change. I hope that this wakes the citizens up to the sad shape of politics in our state."