Board denies election complaint against incoming Beaufort County Council member

November 19, 2012 

Local elections officials have denied a protest regarding a newly elected Beaufort County Council member. On a 5-0 vote, the board found that Cynthia Bensch met residential qualifications to vote and run in District 7.

Forrest “Dan” Duryea, a petition candidate who lost his bid for the District 7 seat, filed the complaint Wednesday against winner Bensch.

The county Board of Voter Registration and Elections began considering the challenge at a 1:30 p.m. hearing today. Both sides were permitted to present arguments, then the board voted on whether Bensch is a resident of District 7, which includes parts of Bluffton and Okatie.

The burden of proof is on Duryea, said Scott Marshall, county elections director. If the board decides against Bensch, a special election will be held, Marshall said.

Both Duryea, who is represented by a lawyer, and Bensch, who represented herself, have presented their cases.

The elections board went into closed session to discuss the case.

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