Changes coming to Aiken Co. election office after ‘hectic’ election

By: Chad Mills Email
By: Chad Mills Email

News 12 at 6 o'clock / Monday, Feb. 4, 2013

AIKEN, S.C. (WRDW) -- On Monday night, during the Aiken County Legislative Delegation meeting, select Aiken County Registration and Elections members released their report as to what went wrong during the Nov. 6 election.

"We want to do better planning, better training. Some of our poll clerks were not real comfortable using that laptops this year," said Kay McIver with Registration and Elections.

Also made public Monday night is a report by the South Carolina Election Commission. The state commission identified 34 things that went wrong in Aiken County on Election Day.

News 12 was first to report a number of problems in the November election. Many complained of long lines, incorrect ballots, unprofessional workers, and clogged up phone lines at the office on Election Day. Even some poll managers told News 12 of their frustrations. Aiken County Delegation Roland Smith also demanded answers. Others told News 12 that a new director was needed.

The new plan would require much more training for workers. The office is also requesting 20 new voting machines and a number of laptops too.

Most importantly, a new bill would place the elections office under the authority of the county administrator, rather than the legislative delegation as it is now. Rep. Smith says he doesn’t have the proper amount of time to be as involved with the office as the county administrator could be. The office agrees with the change. Board
members believe this change would keep politics out of the process.

"If the county administrator is in charge, she's knows who's in charge, she knows who she has to be responsible to, and I think that's an important change," said Sen. Massey.

The bill to make this change has passed the South Carolina House of Representatives unanimously. Now, it waits on approval of the Senate.

Representative Bill Clyburn added that he thought the election would have been smoother if not for the number of write-in candidates vying for various positions. He also believes that lines were particularly wrong, because it was a presidential year too.

Not everyone was happy with the election office’s report.

Sen. Shane Massey said he would have liked to see the office take more personal responsibility, rather than passing the blame to the state and others in some instances.

“This is a business,” Massey said. “The public’s business.”

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