Court asked not to consider absentee ballot question
Booker withdraws city election appeal
Rosa Booker has withdrawn an appeal to the Eighth Circuit Court of her loss to incumbent Shirley Jenkins in the March 5 Clinton Municipal Election.
Booker lost by 56 votes and was appealing two ballots that she alleged were cast illegally. The election result favoring Jenkins was upheld by local elections officials.
“To the Eight Circuit Court: I would like to dismiss my appeal that I filed with the court, with the decision made by the voter registration board,” Booker wrote in an April 2 document filed with the Laurens County Clerk of Court.
Booker claimed that two of Jenkins’ children voted illegally by absentee ballots, since they live and work out of the county yet claim Jenkins’ residence as their home. Jenkins said she did nothing wrong in winning re-election to a seventh term on Clinton City Council over four challengers.
“This lady has served six terms on the Clinton City Council, six terms. Obama didn’t serve that long. I doubt Trump will serve that long,” Booker said of Jenkins at the time of her appeal to the local elections board
Booker never said how she came to possess the two ballots in question.
Filing an action with the court March 12, Booker appealed a decision to deny her claim made March 8 by the Laurens County Elections & Registration Board. The election was March 5. She has the right to appeal that decision to the State Election Commission, and has called for a State Law Enforcement Division investigation. Her court appeal said:
"I, Rosa Booker am appealing the decision made by the Board of Registrations and Elections. I feel that fraud has taken place at the time of the election on the absentee ballets (sic). Tanisha L. Jenkins has been living in Knoxville, Tenn. and working there. She has not changed her address or drivers license and is voting here in Clinton, SC illegally. Christopher Jenkins lives in Spartanburg has not changed his address or drivers license. These are the children of Shirley Jenkins, running for re-election for the City of Clinton Counsel (sic). They both voted on absentee ballots. Protest was made March 8, 2019"
It was not immediately clear what action the court could have taken in the matter. Jenkins was sworn in for her new term on March 21.
A 24-year incumbent on the Clinton City Council, Jenkins won re-election over four challengers March 5. She received 19 of the 20 absentee ballots cast in the Ward 2 election. The votes were: Jenkins - 85, Booker - 29, Sherri Amick - 20, Rilla Griffin - 11, Reginald Vance - 4. Jenkins had to get 50% + 1 to avoid a run-off.
After the elections board denied Booker's appeal, Jenkins said her children have voted since they were 18, always in Laurens County, are registered voters in good standing, and did nothing wrong by voting absentee. Booker said because she thought two voters were fraudulent, all 19 of Jenkins' absentee votes should be disqualified. Jenkins said even if that happened, she still would be re-elected to a 7th term on the Clinton City Council.
In August, Jenkins and Danny Cook were the only two of the seven council members to vote for a delay (for additional study) in dissolving the Clinton Department of Public Safety. The majority of council favored separate Police and Fire Departments, as proposed by City Manager Bill Ed Cannon; Jenkins and Cook said they did not necessarily oppose the move, if it could result in better citizens' service, but they wanted firm numbers on how much the move would cost the City of Clinton.
Cook's seat was not up for re-election March 5.
Jenkins was back in the cross-hairs April 1.
In an otherwise routine, business-as-usual meeting of Clinton City Council, a retired Clinton police officer came very close to threatening the council member.
Retired Capt. Jerry Campbell said Jenkins accused him of stealing some of her campaign signs following a candidate forum Feb. 25 at Presbyterian College.
“I’m going to be watching you like a hawk,” Campbell told Jenkins. “Don’t you ever accuse me of stealing again. “I got no respect for Shirley Jenkins. She don’t know how mad she made me.”
In a short response, Jenkins said she didn’t appreciate Campbell sticking his fingers in her face following the forum at PC.
“I don’t care what you don’t appreciate,” Campbell said. He made several other accusations against Jenkins during his five minutes of public comment time without being interrupted. Campbell’s outburst was witnessed by two District 56 elementary school students who were later recognized by council, as well as other children and several dozen residents.