The addition of precincts, equipment and pollworkers should add up to trouble-free June 10 primaries in Richland County, election officials say. “I feel good. I think it’s going to run well,” said Patrick Nolan, a retired USC professor who runs a Forest Acres precinct. He concurred with the assessment of fellow pollworkers that they are well-prepared for voting in two weeks. Officials at the elections office – still smarting from the fiasco of November 2012, when voters were outraged by long lines, misplaced ballots and a lack of accountability – say they’ve put new safeguards in place. “We have just buckled down and tried to look back – 2012, 2013 – and tried to find those things that did not play so well,” said Samuel Selph, who became Richland County’s interim elections director in February. “So what we’re doing is trying not to repeat the past.”
Many voters will be scrutinizing the day’s events, political consultant Shell Suber said. “At some point, you’ve done such a bad job that people are going to blame bad weather on you. They may have reached that point,” he said.
It’s important to note that thousands of suburban voters have been assigned to new polling places, and this primary will be the first time they are used.
The 25 precincts, created to shorten long lines in suburban areas, are sure to generate confusion among some voters, though the election office sent out notices to affected voters last month.
And despite the additional precincts, 13 of the county’s 149 polling places still have more than the state benchmark of 2,500 voters, Selph said. The county’s largest precinct, Longcreek, with 3,520 registered voters, will have 15 voting machines and 13 pollworkers – more than enough, Selph said.