Only on 12: Aiken Co. poll manager demands new elections director

Aiken Poll Manager Diane Giddings (WRDW-TV)

Aiken Poll Manager Diane Giddings (WRDW-TV)

News 12 at First at Five / Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012

AIKEN, S.C. -- Diane Giddings has been a poll manager for almost two decades.

"I have been a poll manager since 1994," she told News 12.

However, that long tradition may be done, after what she calls a headache-inducing election last Tuesday.

"This was so frustrating that at the end of the day, all I could do was go home and go to bed," Giddings said.

She was manager of precinct 51 at the Aiken County Career & Technical Center in Warrenville. She says she was only given four machines but managed to beg for another. However, she found out before polls opened on election day that one of the machines wasn't working properly.

"I used up all my minutes on my cell phone just trying to get through on the phone," she said.

In fact, the elections office got 779 calls on election day, many of them from disgruntled voters or poll workers like Giddings.

Last night, Aiken County Registration and Elections Director Cynthia Holland stood before the Aiken County Legislative Delegation. Many of them expressed concerns about long lines, lack of machines, and even ballot problems over the North Augusta Sunday alcohol sales election.

"I know that several people on the delegation are very upset about what happened. They're very concerned that we do the right thing," said Giddings.

But Holland told the delegation that the right thing was done. She told them that this election was an unusual one. She said the number of write-ins slowed down voters, which made lines longer. She says she's asked for more machines but hasn't gotten them. She said poll managers were responsible for ballot problems in North Augusta and the fact that many of the machines weren't working, because batteries were dead.

"I believe the blame lays somewhere else," Giddings said.

Giddings says the office was more prepared in 2008, both in charging batteries and training poll workers too. She says poll managers, whose average age is around 72, weren't trained enough on new laptops.

They're all reasons whys she's asking the delegation for a new director.

"I know Cynthia. I have worked with her before this. I worked with her at another place, and she is a very nice person. I just don't think she's prepared for this," Giddings told News 12.

Representative Roland Smith gave a stack of complaints to each representative and senator at the delegation meeting. He says they're looking into the situation and whether new leadership is needed.

By the way, Smith tells News 12 that Holland was already 'on notice' after voter complaints earlier this year after another election.


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