The Richland County Election Commission formally signed and certified the results of the 2012 election Friday afternoon. The commission finished the polling process just after 4 p.m. Friday. The county was supposed to have certified its results at 12 p.m., but requested two two-hour extensions. The Supreme Court granted those requests Friday afternoon, giving the county until noon Monday to certify results, but county officials said they wouldn’t need the entire extension. “I want to get this done, the state election commission wants to get this done and the public is ready for this chapter to be ended,” county election commission attorney Steve Hamm said.
Earlier, state election commission officials said the delays were unacceptable. “We don’t want a county election commission to certify incorrect results,” said state election commission spokesman Chris Whitmire. “But taking a step back and looking at the broader picture, it’s not acceptable to not have results of an election a week after the results should have been certified.”
The process of handling the usual challenged and provisional ballots took longer than expected Friday morning forcing county election members to go back to the Supreme Court and ask for more time. The court did not respond.
The Supreme Court had given the county a noon deadline to certify its vote in order for the statewide results to be verified. But by noon, officials were still going through the more than 500 ballots cast as part of its pool of absentee, provisional and failsafe votes. That deadline was extended to 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Friday before being pushed to 12 p.m. Monday.