The Municipal Election Commission certified Thursday morning the results of the strong-mayor referendum – defeated Tuesday by voters – emphasizing that all votes had been counted. The commission wanted to make sure mistakes made in last month’s election were not repeated. Hundreds of absentee votes were missed in the Nov. 5 Columbia city races because a personal electronic ballot, which held the votes, was not read. During the certification Thursday at the county office, city Commissioner Jay Bender asked Howard Jackson, director of the Richland County elections office, if all of the votes had been counted and all of the electronic ballots had been read. Jackson said all had been counted and read and mentioned a precertification audit, which was done as a checks and balances measure to make sure no mistakes were made.
City Commissioner Susan Kuo also was present. The city’s Municipal Election Commission chairman Byron Gipson, who is also an attorney, was not present because he had to be in court.
The two commissioners in attendance appeared satisfied with the new steps taken for accuracy.
“I definitely think that methods have been taken to provide the necessary assurance that all votes have been counted,” Kuo said.