SC Supreme Court: Thurmond is on the ballot

Paul Thurmond (provided)

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- A three-judge panel has heard a federal lawsuit that involves the results of an election involving Paul Thurmond and has ruled that he will remain on the ballot in November.

A voter sued after the state Supreme Court ruled that Thurmond, who had once been removed from the ballot, could remain in the race.

Reginald Williams' suit says South Carolina should have sought federal approval before returning former Charleston County councilman Paul Thurmond to the ballot, just as it must for any election law changes.

Chief Judge William Traxler of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals appointed the panel last month.

State Democratic Party Chairman Dick Harpootlian argued the case before the judges in Charleston. The lawsuit questions whether the primary involving Paul Thurmond should have been held earlier this month before being pre-cleared by the Justice Department under the Voting Rights Act.

Those challenging the primary have suggested several possible solutions, including delaying the election or holding the election without Thurmond's name on the ballot.

Thurmond's attorneys said there's been no change, and a state Supreme Court ruling allowing a special GOP primary in Senate District 41 was simply an interpretation of existing state law.

The election is for the Senate seat long held by Glenn McConnell of Charleston. He became lieutenant governor after Ken Ard resigned earlier this year.

The special primary had been held because of the problems with election paperwork.

*The Associate Press contributed to this report.