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Peterson Hutto posts easy victory, published 06/11/08Platt trying for spot on November ballot, published 06/19/08Platt off November ballot - for now, published 06/27/08Platt off ballot for District 115 race, published 06/28/08

COLUMBIA — The American Civil Liberties Union filed a federal lawsuit Thursday that alleges the State Election Commission violated Eugene Platt's rights when it decided to not allow him on the November ballot.

The broader issue is over the ACLU's contention with South Carolina election laws that allow candidates to run for office under multiple parties while imposing a "sore loser" statute that prohibits a candidate defeated for one party's nomination from appearing on the ballot for another party.

"For South Carolina voters — no matter what party they belong to — this election system is not acceptable," Graham Boyd, interim executive director of the ACLU South Carolina Office, said in a statement. "We are confident the court will fix this problem and let the voters of this state choose the candidates that best represent them."

The ACLU wants the court to require the state to place Platt's name on the ballot as the Green Party candidate for the House District 115 seat. Platt, though, was defeated in the June 10 Democratic Party primary for the seat by James Island lawyer Anne Peterson Hutto. Incumbent Republican Rep. Wallace Scarborough is running for re-election.

Platt was selected for the Green Party nomination May 3.

Chris Whitmire, public information officer for the State Election Commission, said he could not comment as of late Thursday afternoon because the commission had not seen a copy of the lawsuit. He cited a state statute as the basis for the commission's rejection issued in late June.

Platt questioned the logic of allowing what happened in one party to negate what happens in another. "My primary motivation is to win the election and to try to serve the people of District 115," he said.

A related issue involves a pledge Platt had signed with the Democratic Party regarding future candidacy.

Bill Runyon, attorney and former Charleston Democratic Party chairman, said it's the party's job to enforce the pledge, not the election commission. Whitmire agreed that the pledge is an issue to be handled by the party.