Chester, South Carolina may have a population that is primarily Black, but city leadership has not always reflected that fact. Prior to 1987, the city had never elected a Black city council member. Adding on, the city had never elected a Black city supervisor or mayor before the 1990s. Years later, it appears that the city of Chester is now far past the days of the past. This week, the citizens of Chester elected its first all-Black city council.
Chester's city council is made up of eight seats and the mayor. Heading into this election, more than half of the city council's seats were up for grabs. Prevailing in the most recent race, Wade A. Young, Tabatha M. Strother, Dana Peay, Danielle Hughes and Robbie King-Boyd were picked by voters to represent the town's four wards. The five new councilmembers will join returning councilmembers TaTanish Campbell, Annie Reid and Carlos Williams.
While history was made, it was not made without controversy. Ward 3 candidate Ken Lebbon challenged the results of his election against Danielle Hughes. He publicly questioned whether 16 absentee ballots should count because he believed that those voters did not live within city limits.
“The County Board of Elections has made it clear... that they have no responsibility to qualify electors, and electors will not be summoned to provide proof,” Lebbon stated.
“I rescind the 16 elector challenges because any further discussion at this point is moot.”
Despite his claims, the results of the election stood. However, controversy did not stop here. King-Boyd called Peay's candidacy in question because she voted with a North Carolina driver's license. Peay argued that she had recently moved to the state and had misplaced her South Carolina license. Like Hughes's election, the results in Peay's elections also stood. In the end, the city received the all-Black city council that it had voted for.
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