The Richland County Election Commission has completed their counting of remaining absentee ballots in Richland County. The group finished the hand count of all paper ballots around 7 p.m. Thursday. The final tabulation came around 8:30 p.m. The result? No change in the outcomes of races, although the final numbers did change by a few votes. For example, in House District 75, numbers Wednesday showed Kirkman Finlay with 7,207 votes and Joe McCulloch with 6,891. On Thursday, those statistics were Finlay 7,218 and McCulloch 6,906.
This unofficial tabulation appears to confirm victories for the several races, including the Richland County Penny Tax, Finlay in House 75, and Julie Dixon’s upset of incumbent Val Hutchinson in Richland County Council District 9.
All that remains is to deal with the approximately 400 provisional ballots cast on election day. Those are votes where there was some question about the voter’s eligibility. A hearing on the ballots is set for 8 a.m. Friday at the Richland County Election Commission, located on 2020 Hampton Street. The public is invited to attend.
The completion of the counting ended another day of confusion at the election commission office. Thursday morning, officials there announced that about 150 uncounted paper ballots had been discovered in a closet. Hours later, an additional 43 were found in a bag, and another ballot was found in an office.