As state legislators struggle to unweave a tapestry of unconstitutional county voter registration and election boards, two-board systems in Spartanburg, Cherokee, Greenville and other counties could also be dissolved. Many of the boards most effected by legislation working its way through the state Senate have operated the same way since 1976 and carry out their duties and responsibilities well, said Sen. Shane Martin, R-Spartanburg. Martin objected to a bill that would create a statewide unified one-board per county system, but he and seven other senators were overruled, and the bill was placed on the Senate’s special order calendar. “I talked to the folks in Spartanburg, and they don’t want to change. And I talked to the folks in Greenville, and they don’t really want to change either,” Martin said. “I don’t want to subject my counties to making them jump through hoops to correct things other counties have done wrong.”
In 2011, the legislature passed county-specific legislation allowing Richland County to merge its voter registration board and elections board into one body. In August, a judge responded to a lawsuit from the S.C. Public Interest Foundation by ordering the boards be separated and declaring the legislation that allowed their merger unconstitutional.
The judge’s ruling called into question another hodgepodge law passed in 2008 that transformed many other voter registration and election boards. The act addressed each county’s voter registration and election boards individually, imposing different mandates for each. An opinion from the state Attorney General’s Office in March declared that the law equates to county-specific legislation and is unconstitutional.