Richland County’s election director is creating a new position of voter-outreach coordinator as part of efforts to prepare for the June primary. Howard Jackson asked Richland County Council for money to buy 170 voting machines and associated equipment, enough to comply with state standards requiring one machine per 250 voters. But when it came to covering the new $42,500 position, the council balked, trimming Jackson’s out-of-cycle budget request to $615,622.56 – an amount approved Tuesday by unanimous vote. Jackson said he’ll find the money in the election office’s $1.2 million budget to fund the extra position he deems critical this year. … Rush also expressed concern that county voting machines, selected by the state and purchased in 2004, have become obsolete and will have to be replaced before long.
Said Councilman Greg Pearce: “Until the state wants to replace all of them, we’re pretty much bound to continue using them.”
On another front, Jackson requested new warehouse space to store voting machines in a temperature-controlled environment.
Administrator Tony McDonald suggested holding off on that discussion for a year, when the county will discuss taking out a loan for building projects. McDonald said discussions were preliminary, so he did not know much the county might have to spend on a new warehouse.