Search Results for: richland election

No Republican on Richland Election Commission

I don’t need to remind everyone of the fiasco that has been Richland County elections.

Y’all remember, right? The hours long 2012 lines at polling places because not enough machines were sent to polling places … or the time we had to get a new Elections Director … or the time we had to get a new Election Commission or the time we had to get ANOTHER new Election Commission … or when Republicans were told in 2016 there wasn’t a primary (but there was) … or missing ballots last year …or, I’ll stop. I seriously could go on and on with the problems in this office – or rather pressue from outside the office?

It’s been one mess after another.

Finally, last year, I worked with Kirkman Finlay (R) to push to get 1 Republican on the board (which, afterall, is required by law).

Craig Plank was the Republican. Craig has served before and has tried to fix problems and build consensus in Richland County before. Unfortunately, that’s easier said than done in the county. Today he submitted his resignation letter to the Governor. Can I blame him? No.

Since he joined the Commission, he’s has been working to replace the previous Director (I believe the 6th Director in 6 years?) and it’s taken almost a year for the Commission to work towards getting a permanent Director in place – you know, something that would seem beneficial before statewide elections in June and November.

After more than a year, the Commission has lost out on their first choice. I’m curious to see when a qualified permanent Director will be named and, more importantly, when we can get a full board (which will still only have 1 Republican when we do). More to come…

I thank Craig for his efforts against when the odds seem to be stacked against reforming and fixing the county office.

Personnel changes needed at Richland Election Commission


Photo courtesy of wistv.com

From Friday’s The State (@adambeam)

RICHLAND COUNTY, SC — State Rep. Nathan Ballentine, R-Richland, said Friday officials should fire elections director Lillian McBride.

“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,” Ballentine said in a news release.

He is the first member of the county’s delegation to publicly call for her dismissal.

McBride has been criticized for her office’s handling of the Nov. 6 general election, after a balloting mess that prompted lawsuits, intervention by a circuit court and the state’s highest court and triggered election protests. Some Richland County voters had to wait in line for up to seven hours to vote and, in some cases, cast their ballots well past midnight. Other voters, faced with massive lines, left polling places in frustration without casting ballots.

It took Richland County elections officials more than a week to certify the results. In one race, County Council District 9, officials initially ruled incumbent Val Hutchinson had won only to discover later she had lost to Democratic challenger Julie-Ann Dixon.

It is unclear who has the authority to fire McBride: the Richland County legislative delegation, to whom she directly reports, or the county Election Commission. An Attorney General’s opinion earlier this week said a court likely would side with the county election board. Thursday, Election Commission members voted to accept that opinion.

Ballentine suggested other changes he said would help future elections.

“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,” Ballentine said. “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.”

Video courtesy of ABC Columbia

Update from Richland County Elections Director

I met with the new Director several weeks ago to offer my help to her and her team so that our voters will face less issues than previous elections in the county.

Some of the concerns I shared were:

1) Lack of poll workers at precincts.
2) Lack of machines at precincts.
3) Lack of working machines at precincts.
4) Number of laptops to check-in voters at precincts AND the inability of those laptops to access voters for all precincts that may be combined that location

Since that time, I’ve heard from a handful of you that have applied to be poll workers but have not heard back. I have given those names to the elections office and, if you have not heard from them by now, PLEASE EMAIL ME AT NATHANBALLENTINE@SCHOUSE.GOV and let me know the approx date you applied (ie, early June, late June, etc) so I can have them check and contact you and get you connected.

Below is a response from the new director. It appears they have exceeded their goal of workers (which is good because MANY do not show up the day of election for whatever reason). I will continue to get answers and do what i can to help this office do their job.

Republican Craig Plank appointed to Richland County Election Commission

For years, there have been issues with our local Richland County Election Commission . Rather than rehash those, click that link and you’ll remember the nightmares.

In any event, I was very pleased this week to learn that Craig Plank had been approved by the Governor’s Office to serve on the commission. It’s my hope, Craig, along with independed Duncan Buell, and the 3 other Democrats will finally “fix” one of the most vital parts of our democracy.

NEVER should we experience what we did in 2012 , and never should votes go “missing”. I need to stop before I get fired up again.

Why is this news? There are 15 Democrat members on the Richland County Delegation. There are only 2 Republicans – me and Rep. Kirkman Finlay. Law requires there to be at least one member of the “majority party” and “minority party”.

After reviewing more than 100 applications and hearing from more than 50 applicants over a period of 4 hours, the delegation voted. Unforutnately, the Delegation did not appoint a Republican in the Top 5 – although we were told one of the 5 “voted Republican”. Equally shocking, 3 of the top 5 vote getters didn’t even bother to attend the public meeting to present themselves before the delegation.

In any event, I feel better that we were able to have the former Chairman of the Richland School District Two Board of Trustees appointed and serve our county in this capacity.

Better things ahead for our county once the commission hires a new director and works to ensure smoother elections for all.

Elections update: Richland County needs poll workers

Are you interested in working at the polls on Election Day? Poll Workers are needed in Richland County to serve at the polls on election day.

The deadline for applying to be a poll worker for the June Primary is now TOMORROW Thursday, May 8.

To accommodate the 25 new precincts due to be in operation for the June 10 Primary, 300 extra poll workers were needed. They are close to reaching that goal, however, there is a real need for workers in our community, the Northwest area of the County – specifically Irmo and Chapin.

The poll worker coordinator suggested that this close to the deadline, it would be more expediant to come into the Election Commission office located at 2020 Hampton Streetto fill out the paperwork necessary to be considered an employee. This should not take more than 15 minutes. You will need to complete both their online training and an in-person training prior to the election. For more information, call the Election Commission at576-2200.

Each poll worker will be paid $120 for their time both training and on Election Day combined. Consider this service a way to say “thank you” to all of our public servants who fight for our right to have free and fair elections as part of our democratic republic.

Remember, the best way to insure fair and efficient elections is to have competent and honest poll workers running them.

Qualifications:

A resident of Richland County, or an adjoining county
If age 18 +, you MUST be a qualified registered voter to work on election day
16 & 17 year olds may serve as poll managers
Complete online and in-person training
If you are interested, please contact the Election Commission Office at 576-1512 or Click Here for the Poll Worker Application.

Richland County Elections Fiasco: The Final Report


Video above from Dutch Fork Middle School, sent to me by a constituent on Election Day. That story first posted here

If you’re a Richland County voter, who waited in lines for several hours last November, or a taxpayer, who is now having to foot the $100,000 tab for this mess, you might want to read the final report.

It’s the least the County owes you. Click here for the final report released this week

Here is more from The State…

By Dawn Hinshaw

RICHLAND COUNTY, SC — Richland County Council finally agreed Tuesday to pay more than $100,000 in bills for the lawyers who cleaned up the county’s November election mess.But not until after some unusual procedural moves, a change of heart by two members and the chairman’s threat to enforce a time limit for Councilman Bill Malinowski as he questioned charges for travel and telephone conversations.

The council, which had put off the decision twice before, agreed to pay $72,423.10 for lawyer Steve Hamm to investigate Election Day problems and recommend how to fix them; $9,348.75 for lawyer John Nichols, who represented demoted elections director Lillian McBride; and $17,924.20 for Helen McFadden, who kept the election results from being overturned in court.

Read the full article here .

More on Richland County Election Mess


Photo by Shawn Drury

From SC Patch

Just when the controversy regarding Richland County elections seemed to by dying down, events took another turn on Monday evening.

Liz Crum, the chairwoman of the Richland County Elections Commission, will resign her position, effective Tuesday morning.

Crum oversaw elections in Richland County during a horrendous 2012 Election Day that included hours-long waits to vote.

Crum, who spoke to media following the commission’s meeting on Monday evening, also called for Director Lillian McBride to step down.

“I no longer have confidence in Ms. McBride to lead elections,” said Crum, who said her decision was made harder due to the fact that she considers McBride a friend.

Crum’s position is unpaid. McBride draws approximately $89,000 per year in salary. Rep. Nathan Ballentine and Sen. John Courson have also called for McBride to be replaced. McBride did not comment on Monday when asked about Crum’s decision, nor did Gary Baum, the Assistant Director.

Ballentine reiterated his call for McBride to be replace. He gave the following statement to Patch:

“Liz Crum has listened to the overwhelming voices of Richland County voters and I thank her for understanding that personnel changes are needed to restore confidence in the election process. While Ms. Crum and only a small number of my delegation colleagues understand more changes are needed, I’m getting the feeling the Election Board – the only ones apparently able to make personnel decisions according to the Attorney General – seems to have no interest in publicly discussing the one decision everyone knows needs to be made. How many more weeks of ‘studying reports’ do they need?”

Antjuan Seawright, spokesperson for Sen. Darrell Jackson, who chairs the Richland County Legislative Delegation, said Jackson would have no comment.

Read more from The Patch

Richland County Election Analysis: Duncan Buell

I’ve never met Professor Buell (Computer Science Professor) but I hear he is very good at what he does.

So…the day after Thanksgiving, while Dutch Fork is playing for the Lower State Championship , while Karen is busy decorating the house, and – yes – the eve of the Carolina/Clemson game , I’m reviewing his data/findings.

Earlier I tweeted a few items that peaked my interest.

If you’d like to review the report, you can click here: DraftReport20121123

Of course, on Monday we finally get to hear from the Richland County Election Commission and it’s Director. Hopefully we’ll get all our questions answered and then make the decisions needed to restore the voters confidence in the election process here in the Capital City.

What questions do you have regarding the Richland County election mess?

Almost three weeks after Election Day, I’ll finally be able to get answers that you and I’ve been waiting to hear.

Today’s notification to the delegation states “the reason this meeting cannot be held any sooner is because Steve Hamm, attorney representing the Electdions Commission, will not be available until this time. It is imperative that he is in attendance for this meeting”.

Since this meeting will be a “Legislative Fact Finding Hearing”, there will be no public input; however, as your voice in the General Assembly and in Richland County, I’d like to hear from you what questions you’d like to be asked.

Post them in the comment section or contact me through the website here .

Of course, if you aren’t in the Chapin/Dutch Fork/Irmo area OR want to contact your local House member of Senator, you can click here to find him/her and do just that. (Note, newly elected House Members Beth Bernstein, MaryGail Douglas and Kirkman Finlay do not yet have email or phone contact information yet. Nor does newly elected Senator Thomas McElveen)

If you would like to attend, you may do so on Monday, November 26, 2012 at 1pm in room 105 of the Gressette Building. Should our meeting be rescheduled again, I will certainly keep you posted.

Did you request an absentee ballot (Richland County)?

Just got this email this morning. Be on lookout in your mailbox next week!

Also, don’t forget you can always go vote in-person absentee (Richland County) at Ballentine Park