Two days after Richland County election officials assured their bosses and the public that all votes had been counted, they learned that a voting machine from the Lincolnshire precinct, stored in a warehouse after the election, contained 27 uncounted votes. The notice came not from keen-eyed election officials but from a USC computer science professor who analyzes elections and who happened to be a poll watcher at Lincolnshire, a precinct off Monticello Road north of I-20. The analysis by professor Duncan Buell also found that in addition to the machine used by curbside voters at Lincolnshire, votes in six machines at six other precincts might not have been counted.
Buell said Saturday those additional precincts — Friarsgate 1, Harbison 2, Hopkins, Oak Pointe, Skyland and Spring Valley West — should be examined for what he calls “the Lincolnshire anomaly.” The discovery came 10 days after the State Election Commission officially certified the county’s results from the Nov. 6 election. It adds to new information that continues to build the case of how badly the Richland County voting office bungled the election.
An analysis by The State newspaper found that Elections & Voter Registration director Lillian McBride’s office signed some 17,700 new voters this year, the largest increase in the voter rolls of any county in South Carolina, according to figures from the State Election Commission. That, by law, should have added 71 additional machines just to accommodate the increase this year.
There should have been 980 machines for Richland County’s total of 244,923 registered voters, because state law mandates one machine for every 250 registered voters. But McBride and the county elections board say their best tally so far is that 627 machines were in the field on Election Day.