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FORT MILL, SC (WBTV) - South Carolina voters will decide whether the governor of the state will run on one ticket with the lieutenant governor in future elections.
Voters will see a ballot measure called "Amendment 1" on their ballots in November. It's a measure to amend the state constitution "to provide that the Lieutenant Governor must be elected jointly with the Governor."
A "yes" vote will change the constitution beginning in 2018, requiring that candidates for the top offices in the state run as a pair. It will also mean the lieutenant governor will no longer preside over the state senate. The senate will have to elect its presiding officer from within the senate body.
A "no" vote will mean no change on future ballots. The current method of electing the state's top officials separately will continue. The lieutenant governor will also continue to serve as president of the state senate.
In 2009, then-South Carolina governor Mark Sanford left the country to travel to Argentina without telling his lieutenant governor, who said he had no idea where Sanford had gone.
Dr. Scott Huffmon is a professor of political science at Winthrop University. He says a "yes" vote may improve communication between the governor and lieutenant governor.
"They'll be more on the same page, and we might not have a situation where the lieutenant governor should probably be holding the reigns of government when a governor's out of the country, but didn't even know," said Huffmon.
Four years ago, Winthrop conducted a poll on whether residents would be in favor of changing the way the state's top leaders are elected. A majority of people surveyed did not want to see a change.
Huffmon said sentiment has been shifting since then. The votes on the ballot measure may be close.
If the measure succeeds, he thinks it will shift even more attention away from the office of lieutenant governor, which is already a fairly low profile position.
"Fewer people know the lieutenant governor. Very few people are familiar with exactly what the lieutenant governor does. What this will do is actually make the election nothing about the lieutenant governor, because it will always be about the person on top of a ticket whenever you have a combination."