McMaster: Columbia has right to hold city council election April 6

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Attorney General Henry McMaster says the City of Columbia has the legal right to hold a vote on E.W. Cromartie's vacant city council seat on April 6, but a court challenge could be likely.

In the opinion released Tuesday afternoon, McMaster says his office cannot conclude that the election cannot be held on April 6.

There have been questions about whether there is enough time to campaign before the city general election.

"It has been the consistent opinion of this office that if any vacancy occurs less than 180 days before the next 'regular' or 'general' election, the vacancy must be filled at that general election," said McMaster's opinion.

McMaster also says the courts should get involved to provide a final answer to this issue.

"Accordingly, in our opinion, this question should thus be addressed by a court as quickly as possible," said McMaster.

A court challenge has already been issued to delay the election for the vacant seat. District two resident Paul Denman filed the challenge Monday.

Former City Councilman E.W. Cromartie resigned from his seat as a part of a deal to plead guilty on federal tax evasion charges.

Four people have announced their intentions to run for the seat.

Copyright 2010 WIS. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.