SC Supreme Court says candidates can't appear on ballots

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WACH, AP) -- South Carolina's highest court says dozens of candidates cannot appear on the state's June primary ballots because of missing financial paperwork.

The state Supreme Court ruled Wednesday candidates should have filed financial paperwork when they filed to run for state and local office in March.

The high court's opinion comes just one day after justices heard arguments in a lawsuit filed by two Lexington County voters. Those residents sued the state Republican and Democratic parties and the South Carolina Election Commission saying some candidates failed to file statements of economic interests required by law.

Under a new system, those documents were supposed to be filed online with the state Ethics Commission by a March 30 deadline , but the parties did not check for them. The forms include income and other financial information.

The Supreme Court justices' five-page opinion reads in part, "we fully appreciate the consequences of our decision, as lives have been disrupted and political aspirations put on hold. However, the conduct of the political parties in their failure to follow the clear and unmistakable directives of the General Assembly has brought us to this point."

Dozens of candidates will now be left off the June 12 primary ballot, leaving some key State House races uncontested.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)