The new Richland County election board likely won’t be seated until mid-October, meaning their involvement in upcoming elections will be minimal, county officials said Monday. The new, five-member board probably will not oversee the run-up to the Nov. 4 election, but will be limited to certifying results once the election is over, disappointing Rep. James Smith, who expected them to be more involved. “I wanted them in place not just to certify but I want them in place as soon as possible to make sure, ‘Hey, are the batteries charged?’ All the fundamentals,” said Smith, D-Richland. Elections director Samuel Selph said he knows some people aren’t comfortable with what he called “the old board” certifying the vote totals. “But I have no control over that,” said Selph, who said Monday he was trying to get a time frame for seating “the new board.”
While legislators chose the five-member board Sept. 5, coordinator Kim Janha said it took nearly a week to get applications back from the five nominees to provide to the governor’s office for confirmation. The paperwork was mailed to the governor’s office Thursday, Janha said.
Doug Mayer, a spokesman for the governor’s office, said Monday morning it typically takes three to four weeks to do criminal background checks and credit checks to finalize appointments.
The time frame means the new, five-member board probably will only certify the results, a process that determines “the elections are fair and were run properly,” said Rep. Joe Neal, chairman of the Richland County Legislative Delegation.