Restoring the Public’s Confidence

For Immediate Release
November 30, 2012

Contact: Luke Byars
(803) 931-0580

Voters Demand Changes to Ensure Integrity at the Ballot Box

(Chapin) – State Representative Nathan Ballentine issued the following statement regarding the 2012 Election Day Mess in Richland County:

“Like most voters, when it comes to this Election Day mess in Richland County, I have simply heard enough. Thousands of Richland County voters were disenfranchised and no amount of apologies will fix that. While it has not been proven that any type of conspiracy actually took place, many Republicans, Democrats and Independents were, and still are adversely affected by the complete mismanagement of the process before, during, and after the November 6th election. Voters are angry and the only thing everyone agrees on is that this should never happen again.

“After repeated pleas from my constituents and several Richland County residents, I feel it is time to replace the Executive Director of the Richland County Election Commission. If the other members of the Richland Delegation and the County Election Board listen to our citizens, I believe they will come to the same conclusion. The integrity of our fundamental right to vote must be restored and this is an appropriate first step to restore the public’s confidence.

“While there may be uncertainty about who can actually make the personnel decisions that will be needed, I’m certain and hopeful changes will be made.

“Personnel changes are simply not enough however, and I believe my colleagues and I should consider legislation that will directly hold local election commissions more accountable. Additionally, I think we need to reduce the size of each precinct in our county. As a state official, I will work on legislation to do just that. I also believe our General Assembly should revisit the early-voting debate. I am eager to support measures that will protect the integrity of each person’s ballot being cast prior to and on Election Day.

“I’m hopeful that once the County Election Board returns their investigation report to the delegation, we can assist in determining what procedures must be improved to ensure that enough working machines are in place for our voters. We certainly will also need to improve the communication between election officials, poll workers and most importantly voters when any problems arise. As leaders, we must ensure this mess never, ever happens again in our county and in our State.”