After refusing to turn over voting machines used in the November election, Atlantic Beach officials were forced Tuesday to hand them over after Horry County Sheriff’s deputies came to the town a court order. Horry County typically delivers voting machines the day before the election and picks them up the day after the election, Horry County spokeswoman Lisa Bourcier said in an email. Atlantic Beach repeatedly refused — in person, by phone and by email — to return the machines that were last used in the Nov. 1 vote, according to court documents.
“Atlantic Beach would not release our equipment, this was the only way to get them back,” Bourcier said. The county plans to review the machines, she said but referred questions about any actions or investigations to the state election commission.
The S.C. State Election Commission could not be reached Tuesday, but a letter that executive director Marci Andino sent to Horry County Voters Registration and Election Director Sandy Martin on Monday advised the county to take immediate action.
The town should have returned the equipment immediately and is not authorized to conduct any independent tests on the machines, Andino wrote in the email. If there were questions about the system then Horry County should do the testing and not the town, she wrote.
“Unauthorized tampering with the voting equipment could be a crime and it places the integrity of the entire statewide voting system in jeopardy,” Andino wrote. “ Andino said that Horry County should make a final request for the voting machines and then ask the county sheriff to help get back the equipment.