Search Results for: richland election

Vote at Ballentine Park tomorrow thru Election Day

From WISTV website

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) – Six locations will be open in Richland County for in-person absentee voting, according to county election officials.

The first thing everyone needs to do is check that they are registered to vote and their information is correct.

People can still register to vote by mail if their application is postmarked by Monday, Oct. 5.

Once a person is registered to vote, they can decide how they would like to cast their ballot: in person on election day, in-person absentee or absentee by mail.

In-person absentee voting begins Oct. 5 and goes through November 2, the day before election day.

Those wishing to vote absentee in person can fill out their absentee ballot application and then vote on the spot.

In Richland County, there will be six locations open for absentee in-person voting:

Richland County Administration Building – 2020 Hampton St., Columbia, SC 29204 – October 5, 2020 – November 2, 2020 Monday through Friday, 8:30 am – 5:00 pm and Saturdays Oct. 24 and Oct. 31 from 9 am – 1 pm

Garners Ferry Adult Activity Center – 8620 Garners Ferry Road, Hopkins, SC 29061 – October 7, 2020 – November 2, 2020 Monday through Friday, 8:30 am – 5:00 pm

Adult Activity Center (Parklane) – 7494 Parklane Road, Columbia, SC 29223 – October 7, 2020 – November 2, 2020 Monday through Friday, 8:30 am – 5:00 pm

Ballentine Community Center – 1009 Bickley Road, Irmo, SC 29063 – October 7, 2020 – November 2, 2020 Monday through Friday, 8:30 am – 5:00 pm

North Springs Park Community Center – 1320 Clemson Road, Columbia, SC 29229 – October 7, 2020 – November 2, 2020 Monday through Friday, 8:30 am – 5:00 pm

Masonic Temple – 2324 Gervais St., Columbia, SC 29204 – October 7, 2020 – November 2, 2020 Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Election officials say this information could change and more Saturday voting dates and locations could be added.

Those wishing to vote absentee by mail must apply for a ballot no later than Oct. 24 at 5 p.m. Applications are accepted online and in person.

Ballots must be returned by 7 p.m. on election day — Tuesday, Nov. 3. To ensure that happens, election officials say people should apply for their absentee ballot at least one week before election day.

Statement on yesterday’s primary elections

I was so fed up yesterday evening I fired this off in a series of tweets.

“As I do every election, I spent time today visiting polling locations in our community and thanking the volunteers. From my visit and conversations with the poll workers, as well as the voters waiting in line, it’s apparent we still have issues in Richland County.

While I look forward to the report from the election commission and the election office, I know what I’ve seen first-hand today. Too few staff. Too few equipment. Too many problems.

Certainly, this pandemic affected the number of volunteers; however, when names of volunteers from the South Carolina State Guard are given to your county election office, and those volunteers are not contacted, it makes me question the judgment of the office.

When FIVE large precincts are combined into one location and only two keyboards to sign-in voters are sent to the poll, it makes me question the judgment of the office.

For these reasons and more, I call on the Richland County Election Commission to move swiftly to hire a permanent director. I also call on my Richland County delegation members to move swiftly to help me and Representative Finlay appoint a Republican to the vacant seat on the commission.

My colleagues and I are tired of this constant struggle on behalf of our voters and it is absolutely imperative the Richland County Voter Registration & Elections Officer and the Election Commission review what went right and wrong and fix any issues long before the November elections are here. “

WANTED: Board of Voter Registration and Elections


From the Post and Courier

Gov. McMaster removes elections board in SC’s capital county that missed 1,040 votes
By Andy Shain

Ballentine said he is not surprised McMaster decided to fire all board members

“This all shows the importance of who we place on these boards and commissions,” Ballentine said. “We have not filled these posts with the most qualified people.”

Until a debacle involving the delegation-appointed county Recreation Commission in 2016, the legislative delegation voted on an entire slate of board nominees that came from a special application review committee and could not make changes, Ballentine said.

The 17-member delegation also met just once a year, unlike the Lexington County lawmakers who gather about six times a year, said Ballentine, whose district includes both counties.

“There is no oversight (in Richland),” he said. “We had no idea what these people were doing after they were appointed.”

PREVIOUSLY ON NATHAN’S NEWS: Election Mess , Recreation Mess

Richland County – sands through the hourglass


As I kid, I “grew up” watching Days of our Lives with my Mom.

This was back during the days of those rather large VHS recorders and my Mom would “set the timer” every day to record her show and watch after she had finished her day teaching at Greenville Tec (25+ years) and making dinner for our family. When I went off to college years later, I happened to catch an episode or two and it seemed the “characters were still the same”.

I share this because it seems like I’m watching the same thing here in Richland County. Again.

First the Election Fiasco and then the Recreation Mess.

While I’ve been one of the first elected officials to call for drastic measures in both instances , it takes awhile for resolution to occur. While the Elections Director was not fired – she was at least finally replaced. While the Recreation Director has not been fired – he has at least been relived of his duties – until further notice.

In both instances, it took time. More time than I – or you – believed necessary. But that’s politics and that’s what happens when you have a larger block of votes against you.

My constituents recall years ago when a Senator unceremoniously removed my appointment to the Recreation Commission. I knew then that some members of the Legislative Delegation were too much “involved” in the operations of the Commission. I was told our commissioner was removed because he “wasn’t voting correctly” (verbatim from the Senator).

I agree with an editorial I read today . Some of us have been asking questions; what have the others been doing? Helping or hindering?

Here’s a question I have for the legal minds out there: Can a commissioner be removed (like my appointment was years ago) simply by having enough votes to remove him/her? If so, then I will ask my colleagues to remove the current commissioners – much like we did the Elections Commission (except for one holdover).

If we don’t remove the Commissioners (along with the Director), it means this soap opera will continue just as Days of Our Lives has for years. Same characters and basically the same story line. One of these isn’t good for ratings; the other isn’t good for our employees, our children and our taxpayers.

Richland County: It’s happening…again

2016 GOP primary

Everyone makes mistakes. But it seems Richland County is getting “real good” at making “mistakes” lately: the county Penny Tax county Recreation …. county elections .

Thanks to my neighbor, who first brought this to my attention April 29th when he walked over and showed me the letter you see above, I learned 203 voters in our community received this letter…by mistake.

The letter begins:

“You requested an absentee ballot for the REPUBLICAN Primary on June 14th, 2016, but there will be no REPUBLICAN primary for any of the offices you are eligible to vote….Therefore, you will NOT be receiving a REPUBLICAN ballot for June 14, 2016.

Not sure how the county didn’t know there was a Republican race out here. It’s the only Republican race in the entire county so it should stand out. I would hope they wouldn’t “forget about us” about here – but looks like they did.

The State wrote about it this week and I’ve copied some of the article below.


More than 200 voters in Richland County mistakenly were told by the beleaguered county elections office that they could not vote absentee in the June Republican primary for state House District 71.

Thousands of voters across the county requested absentee ballots for the June 14 primary. Most of them correctly received letters from the Richland County Voter Registration and Elections office telling them there is no Republican primary for them to vote in, elections director Samuel Selph said.

But 203 voters in House District 71, who are eligible to vote in the county’s sole Republican primary, received those letters by mistake, Selph said.

“We were just trying to be proactive” by informing voters when there were no primaries in their districts, Selph said. “We made a mistake and sent it to some people in District 71, and we corrected that. … You don’t like for these things to happen, naturally.”

Read more here

The county has since mailed those 203 voters a corrected letter (see below) and it’s my hope that all voters will receive their absentee ballots and that come June 14th, every vote will count and the county will have the legal number of (working) machines at every precint.

2016 GOP correction

What will our June Primaries in Richland tell us?

Actual video sent to me by constituent November 2012 at Dutch Fork Middle School.

With June primaries just weeks away, and with the ongoing drama that lingers in the Richland County Elections Office (now back – at least for now – to a Voter Registration piece and a separate Elections piece), I want to continue to keep you informed.

For those who haven’t read Nathan’s News in the past several months, here’s a link that can help you catch up on what has happened, what I’ve been doing to help fix, and what possibly can be happening soon.

Tonight, I’m sharing information I requested earlier this week from the Elections Office.

Click this link to see Richland County precinct names, locations, number of workers that should be there on election day, number of voters and number of machines that should be there on election day

That’s a good plan – as long as it’s executed.

Of course, based on the fiasco we saw before, there are several questions that we hope will have positive answers this time around.

* Will we have long waits? (Precinct sizes have been reduced, we have enough machines, and it appears there is a plan in place – see link above – to help reduce wait time. Let’s hope it’s executed)

* How will we know where to vote this time? (I checked on this as well this week and have been told notifications will start being mailed within the next two weeks. Check your mail box and be sure to READ your card to see the precinct name – it could be new – and the LOCATION)

* Will we have enough volunteers? (Several poll workers shared with me they would not work again after what they lived through last time. Add to those concerns, the increase in number of precincts and getting the needed number of volunteers may be a huge challenge)

* What will turnout be? (Talk about voter suppression: people having to wait for five hours and then votes not being counted and then all the other drama ever since. There will be many that sit home. Of course, primaries don’t bring out large crowds anyway; but even less may show up because of the lack of confidence in the county)

* Will all the ballots be counted? (Obviously a serious concern)

* What is the status of the SLED investigation into Howard Jackson’s allegations and information? (I have little patience for things; but unfortunately things of this magnitude take time. I’m sure when everything has been reviewed, Chief Keel and his department will share what they have learned. What will they learn and what will be the outcome from that?)

One big question that has been on everyone’s mind for months is what will the county delegation do with the Elections Board? As I’ve shared previously, I hope my colleagues will join me in replacing them all with new members . Stay tuned….our delegation should be meeting in the next few weeks.

Richland County Library Bond Referendum

As I have done with past referendums in our community, I am providing information for you to use and decide for yourself how to vote. For those new to the area, I don’t publicly weigh-in on local issues or local races because I feel everyone in the community should have enough time and should be able to access enough information to make their own decision.

My role is to serve our community and the other residents of our state by voting and shaping our future at the State House.

My hope for November is simply that the Richland County Election Commission will be sure to send the proper amount of working voting machines for our area so that we avoid this fiasco last year .

Below is information from the Richland County Public Library’s website about our library here in Ballentine that you may not know. You can also read an earlier post about our new manager, Kelly Jones .

VISITS | 95,000
CIRCULATION | 265,000 items

Richland Library Ballentine is our newest library location. Located in an area of the county that was previously only served by the Bookmobile, the library was made possible thanks to a federal grant and a matching contribution from the Richland Library Friends.

The state-of-the-art facility links residents in this growing community to everything Richland Library offers. The library features a video reference system that allows users to actually see and speak with a librarian at the Main Library. Wireless Internet access is also available, linking users to the numerous
online resources through

Richland Library Ballentine’s new book club for adults is currently at standing room only.

For information specifically about this fall’s referendum, you can click here.

Here is what your library could have! New 15,000 sq ft facility with space for:
• 70 person meeting room with storage
• One large conference room
• Two tutor or small conference rooms
• 12 person learning lab
• Partnering space for two partners
• Covered drop off and book returns
• Possible drive up window for holds pick up
• Circulation kiosks and self-service stations
• Addition of outdoor programming space

For more information, contact Kelly Jones or the Richland County Public Library system.

Solutions to prevent another election fiasco

New voting precincts in Northwest Richland County, as passed by the SC House last week.

I don’t want to rehash the Richland County election fiasco last year. It still frustrates me when we realize it didn’t have to be that way and it shouldn’t have been that way for thousands in our county.

While there still hasn’t been a “final report” issued by the Election Commission; I knew months ago I better not wait around for some magic fix. Instead, I’ve been working to fix what I can for the voters in Richland County.

In November, I outlined steps that I, and many of you, knew were needed. We didn’t need a final report to know just how bad this past election was managed.

First and foremost, we needed personnel changes in the County Election Office. I shared the concerns of many around the county and lead the call for changes to be made. By law, I could not directly make the needed changes; but I can (and did) voice your concerns. I also continue to work towards a better appointments process in Richland County (not just for our Election Commissioners that do make those personnel changes; but also all Richland County Boards and Commissions that are appointed by the House/Senate Delegation).

Next, we needed more accountability for elections. Since November, I’ve worked with colleagues in the House on how best to accomplish this. The bill I co-sponsored with Representative Finlay (another Richland colleague) was H.3197 . Whether the ultimate accountability will rest with the Secretary of State or, perhaps, the Election Commission, remains to be seen during upcoming hearings and floor debate.

Lastly, I helped from the State House by creating smaller voting precincts and will soon revisit early voting practices in our state. Last week, my bill to reduce precinct sizes in Northwest County passed unanimously; without any debate. H.3724 will reduce every voting precinct in the House District I represent (District 71) and help reduce wait times for the voters. This reduction in precinct sizes can help; but is not to be seen as the “cure-all”. Whether we have 1,000 voters or 3,000 voters in precincts, until the people running the elections send enough working machines as required; it won’t matter. Our voters still need at least one machine per 250 voters. The county had enough working machines last time; but they didn’t send them out as needed to get the job done for our voters. I know the map shown above is not easily viewed; but it shows smaller precincts in Northwest Richland County in order to stay below or just above 1,500 voters. In order to be fully implemented for our voters in the Irmo/Chapin community, the bill still needs to pass the Senate, the Governor, and ultimately the Department of Justice. Obviously, I’ll keep you posted along the way and appreciate any feedback you have.

In the coming weeks the House will debate early voting in South Carolina. Again, as I shared in November, this is something I could support if the final bill will improve upon the current process already in place. Many people in our state believe we have “early voting” but we don’t. What we have is “absentee voting” where you must meet certain criteria to be able to cast your vote prior to the election. Frankly, I don’t think we need people to have “an excuse” to vote early; nor do I feel they need 30 days to do so either. Hopefully we can provide a reasonable “no excuse” period to help reduce wait times on Election Day.

It’s been just a few months since the election fiasco; but wanted to follow up on the plan I shared last November and appreciate any feedback you still have on these proposals. You sent me here to serve and find solutions and I’ll continue to do so as your Representative.

Thank you for the privilege and opportunity!

State Law Enforcement should investigate Richland County Voting Fiasco

Many voters were genuinely excited about voting in this important election. I was one of the first to endorse Mitt Romney for President in South Carolina, and I think many others shared my excitement about his Presidential campaign and the future of our country. On the other side, President Obama certainly had countless local supporters here in the Palmetto State, and I know they were anxious as well to do their civic duty on November 6.

Unfortunately, instead of proudly casting their votes for President and leader of the free world, voters experienced a nightmare this past Election Day in Richland County. Genuine excitement was dashed by long lines caused by an inadequate number of voting machines and, in many cases, voting machines that worked improperly.

But, how did it get this way? What happened and why?

Senior citizens were asked to stand in line in some cases for four or five hours or more. Many frustrated voters faced with the choice of voting or missing work had to leave the lines and go back to work. Many parents were forced to leave long lines to care for children at home. Citizens were standing in line hours and hours into the night and many enduring freezing cold weather. The sad thing is that this never had to happen.

According to The State Newspaper, the Richland County Election Commission has over 1,000 voting machines at their disposal. State law mandates a voting machine must be available for every 250 registered voters in each precinct. Richland County was the only county in the entire stay to so drastically misallocate voting machines. If the Richland County Election Commission had only followed state law and run the simple math, these problems could have been avoided.

Many voters are convinced this fiasco is a result of some broad conspiracy for special interests to pass the penny sales tax increase. Because I have yet to have my questions answered from last Tuesday afternoon, I cannot answer these concerns for the voters and taxpayers.

Many other local voters feel this was all a result of government bureaucracy and plain incompetence. They point to the high number of machines the County owned combined with the time it takes to do the simple math to ensure each precinct has enough machines, and they conclude that this epic failure is just a sign of the times when government can’t get anything right. I can understand their frustration and sympathize with their concerns but believe we should withhold judgment until we know more facts.

What I do know as fact is at least one of the precincts in my area was seriously under equipped on Tuesday. The voters at Dutch Fork Middle School had only four booths (one of the four wasn’t working). When I spoke directly with the Executive Director of Elections and Voter Registration that afternoon, she told me we had 2,900 registered voters at that precinct. Quickly, I asked her to “do the math”. and she knew we didn’t have sufficient machines. She later sent four additional machines (still below the number required by law); but that was close to 4 p.m. after many voters had gone home or determined they could not wait and meet family obligations. Many told me they expected (and planned) to wait two hours but did not and could not wait four and five hours.

Last year the large Democrat majority on our county delegation was convinced that making changes to the election staff and voter registration staff through consolidation was the most efficient way to proceed. As one of only four Republicans on the delegation, I knew the outcome had already been decided on who the new head of this combined office would be and could not stop that process. Sadly this is how almost every appointment is made in Richland County, by the Democrat majority and with no member of the minority party on the “appointments committee”.

Moving forward as elected officials, it is imperative that we treat this matter seriously and that we investigate it thoroughly. Given the gravity of the situation and the political nature of elections, how can we best get answers for our voters without “politics” getting in the way? The public trust in the voting process must be restored with no prejudice towards parties, candidates, or ballot referendums.

In my opinion, state law enforcement should be given authority to investigate this matter fully, and if it is proven that any laws were broken, responsible parties should be prosecuted and punished. Though many questions still need answers, one thing is for certain – this can never be allowed to happen again. Richland County voters deserve better.

Letter as it appeared in The State

2012 Presidential Debate at Richland County Public Library


Brad Warthen moderates a bipartisan panel debate on the hot issues of this year’s presidential campaign. Panelists include: Matt Moore, SC Republican Party Executive Director; Amanda Loveday, SC Democratic Party Executive Director; Representative Nathan Ballentine; and Representative Bakari Sellers. This program is co-sponsored by the Central Carolina Community Foundation and Richland County Public Library. Recorded at the Richland County Public Library in Columbia, S.C. on October 23, 2012.