In an unprecedented twist to an already knotted election, state elections officials today will conduct a court-ordered recount of all Richland County ballots cast Tuesday after a lawsuit in a House race prompted state investigators to seize voting records. Amid a swirl of legal action Thursday, the chairwoman of the Richland County Election Commission said she is sorry for the mess that created long waits at polling places, some stretching to seven hours and causing some voters to leave without casting a ballot. Read the restraining order petition and the order
“Specifically for the commission, I want to express our sincere apology to the voters of Richland County, … to the poll workers and to the public for everything that has happened,” said Liz Crum, an attorney who has been on the local elections-oversight body for 10 years. “If we can’t have confidence that people’s votes count, we shouldn’t be here,” Crum said.
Updated vote totals for 35 county races, the controversial penny sales tax increase and a state constitutional amendment will be announced by the end of today, said Marci Andino, South Carolina’s director of elections, whose office will lead the recount under the watchful eyes of agents from the State Law Enforcement Division.
Circuit Court Judge Casey Manning issued a recount order Thursday after the S.C. Democratic Party sued on behalf of Democrat Joe McCulloch, who trails Republican Kirkman Finlay by 265 votes in a House District 75 count that took a last-minute flip-flop and almost 24 hours to determine an apparent winner.
The suit alleges voting irregularities, and Manning decided to have state officials confiscate records of votes cast in all races countywide. He ordered the recount, which blocks today’s scheduled certification of the election.