Conduct of party conventions or party primary elections generally;
presidential preference primaries.
(A) Except as provided in subsection (B), party conventions or party
primary elections held by political parties certified as such by the
State Election Commission pursuant to the provisions of this title to
nominate candidates for any of the offices to be filled in a general or
special election must be conducted in accordance with the provisions of
this title and with party rules not in conflict with the provisions of
this title or of the Constitution and laws of this State or of the
(B)(1) Except as provided in item (2), a certified political party
wishing to hold a presidential preference primary election may do so in
accordance with the provisions of this title and party rules. However,
notwithstanding any other provision of this title, the state committee
of the party shall set the date and the hours that the polls will be
open for the presidential primary election and the filing requirements.
If a party holds a presidential preference primary election on a
Saturday, an absentee ballot must be provided to a person who signs an
affirmation stating that for religious reasons he does not wish to take
part in the electoral process on a Saturday.
(2) For the 2008 election cycle, if the state committee of a
certified political party which received at least five percent of the
popular vote in South Carolina for the party's candidate for President
of the United States decides to hold a presidential preference primary
election, the State Election Commission must conduct the presidential
preference primary in accordance with the provisions of this title and
party rules provided that a registered elector may cast a ballot in
only one presidential preference primary. However, notwithstanding any
other provision of this title, (a) the State Election Commission and
the authorities responsible for conducting the elections in each county
shall provide for cost-effective measures in conducting the
presidential preference primaries including, but not limited to,
combining polling places, while ensuring that voters have adequate
notice and access to the polling places; and (b) the state committee of
the party shall set the date and the filing requirements, including a
certification fee. Political parties must verify the qualifications of
candidates prior to certifying to the State Election Commission the
names of candidates to be placed on primary ballots. The written
certification required by this section must contain a statement that
each certified candidate meets, or will meet by the time of the general
election, or as otherwise required by law, the qualifications in the
United States Constitution, statutory law, and party rules to
participate in the presidential preference primary for which he has
filed. Political parties must not certify any candidate who does not or
will not by the time of the general election meet the qualifications in
the United States Constitution, statutory law, and party rules for the
presidential preference primary for which the candidate desires to
file, and such candidate's name must not be placed on a primary ballot.
Political parties may charge a certification fee to persons seeking to
be candidates in the presidential preference primary for the political
party. A filing fee not to exceed twenty thousand dollars, as
determined by the State Election Commission, for each candidate
certified by a political party must be transmitted by the respective
political party to the State Election Commission and must be used for
conducting the presidential preference primaries.
(3) The political party shall give written notice to the State
Election Commission of the date set for the party's presidential
preference primary no later than ninety days before the date of the
(4) Nothing in this section prevents a political party from
conducting a presidential preference primary for the 2008 election
cycle pursuant to the provisions of Section 7-11-25.
note. Note the references to the 2008 election cycle. On
June 27, 2011 Attorney General Alan Wilson issued an opinion [PDF] on the applicability of this
section of the code to the 2012 presidential preference primary and
authority of the State Election Commission to enter into a contract
with the political parties for the purpose of conducting the 2012
Presidential Preference Primaries."
SCGOP Rule 11(b)
(b) The Presidential Preference Primary
(1) Unless decided otherwise by the state party convention within two
(2) years prior to each presidential election year, the South Carolina
Republican Party shall conduct a statewide presidential preference
primary on a date within two weeks after the New Hampshire Republican
Primary or earlier if necessary to preserve South Carolina's "First in
the South" status. Notwithstanding this provision, the State
Chairman and the State Executive Committee have the right to set the
(2) In the event that the convention decides not to hold a primary, and
circumstances surrounding the presidential election shall have
substantially changed such that a primary would be deemed advisable,
the state executive committee, prior to January 15 of the presidential
election year, may override the decision of the convention and
reinstate the primary.
(3) If, however, after the closing of the filing period for the
presidential preference primary no more than one candidate has
qualified, no presidential preference primary shall be held.
(4) Each congressional district delegate from South Carolina to the
ensuing Republican National Convention shall be bound during the first
ballot at the convention to the presidential candidate who received the
greatest number of votes in that particular delegate's home district
during the presidential preference primary.
(5) However, if the candidate to which a delegate is bound falls below
thirty (30) percent of the vote on the first ballot, that delegate
automatically is released before the second ballot.
(6) Each delegate-at-large shall be bound for the first ballot to the
candidate who received the largest number of votes statewide in the
presidential preference primary.
(7) All other details pertaining to this presidential preference
primary shall be the responsibility of the state executive committee.
(c) No person that has voted in the primary or run-off election of
another political party, including a presidential preference primary,
shall be allowed to cast a ballot in a Republican Primary or run-off
for the same office in the same election cycle.