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South Carolina: Twice in a row, Aiken County hit with election difficulties | Aiken Standard

The almost three-hour waiting game that resulted in no final vote tally in Aiken County during South Carolina’s primaries on Tuesday was what one person called a “worst-case scenario.” Aiken County was the only county that did not report to the State Election Commission by Wednesday morning. Only by 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday were unofficial partial votes tabulated for the state to report. “The worst that can happen has already happened – you having a delay in reporting your complete county results,” Chris Whitmire, State Election Commission spokesman, said. A State Election Commission technician was sent to the Aiken County Government Center early on Wednesday to troubleshoot why candidates, the press and residents were unable to view any tabulated voting results – both absentee and electronic – until almost 9:30 p.m. on Tuesday.

Full Article: Twice in a row, County hit with election difficulties | Aiken Standard.

South Carolina: Elections oversight begins in fall, as reform passes | The State

Starting this fall, state elections officials will check vote totals in all 46 counties as part of the biggest election reform measure passed in a decade. Disagreements are brewing, meanwhile, among Richland County legislators about whether to retain two long-time election board members when the offices join once again as a result of the new measure. The bill – awaiting the governor’s signature after unanimous approval this week by the House and Senate – requires counties to merge election and voter registration functions. The measure averted possible chaos during upcoming elections in June and November: A lawsuit in Richland County foreshadowed problems with the patchwork of local laws that set up election boards statewide. The General Assembly had to agree on a uniform method to run county election offices.

Full Article: COLUMBIA, SC: SC elections oversight begins in fall, as reform passes | Local News | The State.

South Carolina: Potential election law fix returned to Senate | Associated Press

The House has taken a new approach to passing a bill designed to prevent South Carolina’s elections from being thrown into chaos again. The proposal sent Friday to the Senate would both create a statewide model for county election boards, to hopefully remove the threat of chaos, and give the State Election Commission oversight over those 46 boards. That new authority could improve elections and ensure everyone’s vote is counted, state elections spokesman Chris Whitmire said Friday. Currently, if a county isn’t following the law or voluntarily complying with policy, the agency can only inform local officials and legislators of a potential problem. “They are their own entity. We can’t compel them to do anything,” Whitmire said. A panel of House and Senate members had been working on a compromise over different versions of a bill on the governance of county election boards. But that tentative compromise required a two-thirds vote in each chamber, a difficult proposition in the Senate. So the House instead attached the compromise to a separate election-related bill and, after a unanimous vote Thursday, returned that amended measure to the Senate. A simple majority approval in that chamber would send it to the governor’s desk.

Full Article: Potential election law fix returned to Senate - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |.

South Carolina: Legislators working on election law fix | Associated Press

Both the House and Senate have passed a bill designed to prevent a lawsuit from throwing South Carolina’s elections into chaos again. But their versions differ. A six-member panel appointed this week will try to reach a compromise on the legislation, which is aimed at creating a statewide model for county election boards. Senate Judiciary Chairman Larry Martin has urged his colleagues to act quickly, noting a verdict on a lawsuit filed in March could jeopardize the June primaries. The South Carolina Public Interest Foundation has asked a judge to throw out a 2008 state law on how county election offices are constructed. Martin had warned such a lawsuit was likely, citing advice from the attorney general’s office that the law is unconstitutional. If a court affirms the top prosecutor’s opinion, there could be no one left locally to conduct elections, he said. Lawmakers also fear the potential of a verdict overturning upcoming elections. Legislators don’t want to take that chance two years after a lawsuit against a single candidate resulted in about 250 people being kicked off primary ballots statewide.

Full Article: SC legislators working on election law fix - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |.

South Carolina: Bill clarifies that State Election Commission is responsible for presidential primaries | Associated Press

Taxpayers would continue to at least partly fund South Carolina’s first-in-the-South presidential primaries in the future under a bill backed by both major parties. The bill, which lawmakers advanced Monday to the full House Judiciary Committee, clarifies that the State Election Commission is responsible for conducting the contests. It does that by deleting from state law a reference to the 2008 election cycle. Rep. Alan Clemmons, the subcommittee’s chairman, said the bill means future presidential primaries will be funded through the budget like any other election, offset by filing fees that candidates pay.

Full Article: Bill clarifies that State Election Commission is responsible for SC presidential primaries - Daily Journal.

South Carolina: 1,114 Richland Coubty Votes Not Counted; What’s Done to Protect You | WSAV

The State Election Commission has discovered that the votes of 1,114 people in Richland County were not counted in the November 5 election. The results from one machine were overlooked in the vote count. The votes were from absentee voters who cast their ballots in person at the Richland County Elections and Registration Office. The votes would not have changed the outcome of any of the races or the ballot question if they had been counted. But it raises the question: What’s done to protect your vote and make sure it counts? Chris Whitmire, spokesman for the State Election Commission, says, “There’s no excuse for not counting any ballot and there are ample checks and balances in place that should prevent that from happening.” Richland County Elections director Howard Jackson says, “We had procedures in place and we just didn’t follow those procedures.” He says his office is taking steps to make sure it never happens again.

Full Article: 1,114 Richland Co. Votes Not Counted; What's Done to Protect You - WSAV: News, Weather, and Sports for Savannah, GA.

South Carolina: Could Open Primaries Close the Door on Graham in 2014? | State of Elections

A recent case out of South Carolina is drawing attention to the potential impact of open primaries on election results. South Carolina law does not require voters to formally register with a particular political party in order to cast a vote in a primary. A system in which voters can select the primary they wish to vote in regardless of party affiliation is called an open primary system.  Open primary systems sometimes draw criticism because they can allow voters to engage in so-called crossover voting.  Crossover voting occurs when members of one political party deliberately vote for a candidate they perceive to be weaker in an opposing party’s primary in order to give their candidate an advantage. It is important to note that voters in an open primary system do have to select only one primary in which to vote, so crossover voting naturally removes a voter’s opportunity to cast a ballot for the actual candidate of her choice in her own party’s primary.  Exit polls provide evidence that voters have crossed party lines during primaries in South Carolina. For example, despite South Carolina’s traditionally conservative electorate, nearly 30% of the voters in the Republican presidential primary in 2012 were either Democrats or Independents.  Further, nearly a quarter of the independents chose Ron Paul as their candidate of choice, rather than the eventual winner in the primary, Newt Gingrich.

Full Article: Could Open Primaries Close the Door on Graham in 2014? : State of Elections.

West Virginia: Election Commission questions constitutionality of public finance | State Journal

The State Elections Commission in a July 31 emergency meeting approved a motion to “actively defend constitutionality of matching funds law passed by the Legislature.” Allen Loughry, a Republican running for West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals, was the only candidate for that office hoping to take part in the state’s public financing pilot project. The Commission decided in a July 17 vote to not release public financing funds to Loughry.

Full Article: Election Commission questions constitutionality of public financ - Business, Government Legal News from throughout WV.

South Carolina: Courtroom drama in primaries isn't over yet | Anderson Independent Mail

The courtroom drama over South Carolina’s primaries is not over. A judge will wade into the state’s elections again Thursday during a hearing over whether there should be a runoff for the Democratic nomination in the new 7th Congressional District. The dispute is affecting the Republican primary for the seat because election officials have been barred from sending out absentee voter ballots until the case is resolved. The runoff is scheduled for Tuesday.

Full Article: Courtroom drama in S.C. primaries isn't over yet » Anderson Independent Mail.

South Carolina: Election Commission asks State Supreme Court to intercede in 7th District primary | MyrtleBeachOnline.com

The State Election Commission filed an emergency petition with the S.C. Supreme Court Monday asking for relief from a lawsuit over the 7th District Democratic primary and a restraining order that prohibits the Commission from preparing or distributing election materials for the Republican runoff as well. “The real concern is that voters are going in to participate in the Republican (runoff) and they can’t give them absentee ballots,” Marci Andino, executive director of the Election Commission said late Monday afternoon. She said the Commission’s filing was seeking a ruling without a hearing, but that she had received no word that one had been issued by 5 p.m.

Full Article: Election Commission asks S.C. Supreme Court to intercede in 7th District primary - Top News - MyrtleBeachOnline.com.

South Carolina: Election Commission certifies Bromell Tinubu as 7th District Dem winner; no runoff ordered | The Republic

Election officials opted Friday not to order a runoff between the top two vote-getters in the Democratic race for South Carolina’s new 7th congressional district, although all sides acknowledged the issue would next play out in court. After 90 minutes of executive session but with no public debate, the state Election Commission voted to certify Coastal Carolina University professor Gloria Bromell Tinubu’s victory in Tuesday’s primary over Myrtle Beach attorney Preston Brittain. At issue was whether the commission would count the votes of state Rep. Ted Vick, who withdrew May 25 following an arrest for drunken driving, but remained on the ballot. Without Vick’s more than 2,300 votes, Bromell Tinubu won the four-way race outright, with 52 percent of the vote to Brittain’s 39 percent. But five names were on the ballot. Both the state Democratic Party and Brittain’s campaign had argued none of the five received a majority, thus necessitating a runoff or otherwise disenfranchising voters. The commission voted 3-2 not to count Vick’s votes.

Full Article: SC Election Commission certifies Bromell Tinubu as 7th District Dem winner; no runoff ordered.

South Carolina: Election commission: No Democratic runoff in 7th District | The Associated Press

Election officials opted Friday not to order a runoff between the top two vote-getters in the Democratic race for South Carolina’s new 7th congressional district, although all sides acknowledged the issue would next play out in court. After 90 minutes of executive session but with no public debate, the state Election Commission voted to certify Coastal Carolina University professor Gloria Bromell Tinubu’s victory in Tuesday’s primary over Myrtle Beach attorney Preston Brittain. At issue was whether the commission would count the votes of state Rep. Ted Vick, who withdrew May 25 following an arrest for drunken driving, but remained on the ballot. Without Vick’s more than 2,300 votes, Bromell Tinubu won the four-way race outright, with 52 percent of the vote to Brittain’s 39 percent. But five names were on the ballot. Both the state Democratic Party and Brittain’s campaign had argued none of the five received a majority, thus necessitating a runoff or otherwise disenfranchising voters. The commission voted 3-2 not to count Vick’s votes.

Full Article: Election panel: No Dem runoff in SC 7th District - The Item: AP State News:.

South Carolina: Federal judge will not stop primary | Anderson Independent Mail

A federal judge denied a last-minute request to halt Tuesday’s primary elections. Five people who were thrown out of South Carolina’s primary had filed a request Monday in U.S. District Court in Columbia for a temporary restraining order. Judge Cameron Currie and two other federal judges denied the request following a 3 p.m. conference call with the plaintiff’s attorney and state lawyers. The judges will explain their denial in an opinion that will be issued later. The candidates in the lawsuit are Republicans Ann Smith, who was running for the Anderson County Council; Tommie Reece, who was running for state Senate in Greenville County; and John Pettigrew, who was running for state Senate in Edgefield County. They are joined by Democrats Bob Shirley, who was running for a state House seat in Calhoun Falls, and Robert Tinsley, who was seeking the solicitor’s office for Abbeville, Greenwood, Laurens and Newberry counties.

Full Article: Federal judge will not stop Tuesday's S.C. primary » Anderson Independent Mail.

South Carolina: Atlantic Beach election under the microscope | CarolinaLive.com

Tuesday, Atlantic Beach held an election that was ordered by Governor Nikki Haley in March. “When the governor issues an executive order for a state agency to do something, we react,” said State Election Commission spokesperson Chris Whitmire. “We want the voters to have an opportunity to cast a ballot today in a fair election and have the reassurance that their votes will count.” Governor Haley issued the order because she felt the town’s election commission did not act swiftly enough. Atlantic Beach’s Election Commission threw out the town’s November 2011 election after some of the losing candidates appealed the results, but the commission did not set a new election date. The governor’s order also included Horry County overseeing the election instead of Atlantic Beach.

Full Article: Atlantic Beach election under the microscope : News : CarolinaLive.com.

South Carolina: Atlantic Beach election under the microscope | CarolinaLive.com

Tuesday, Atlantic Beach held an election that was ordered by Governor Nikki Haley in March. “When the governor issues an executive order for a state agency to do something, we react,” said State Election Commission spokesperson Chris Whitmire. “We want the voters to have an opportunity to cast a ballot today in a fair election and have the reassurance that their votes will count.” Governor Haley issued the order because she felt the town’s election commission did not act swiftly enough. Atlantic Beach’s Election Commission threw out the town’s November 2011 election after some of the losing candidates appealed the results, but the commission did not set a new election date. The governor’s order also included Horry County overseeing the election instead of Atlantic Beach.

Full Article: Atlantic Beach election under the microscope : News : CarolinaLive.com.

South Carolina: Chaotic primary season nears conclusion | The Times and Democrat

The 2012 South Carolina election cycle already promises to be memorable even before candidates hit the starting gate.
A S.C. Supreme Court decision that chopped about 200 candidates from the June 12 primary ballots started an avalanche of actions that threatened to postpone the primaries. State Election Commission spokesman Chris Whitmire said the election will proceed as planned. “All county election commissions should proceed with the printing of absentee ballots, preparation of voting machines, mailing of absentee ballots and the opening of the in-office absentee machines,” Whitmire said. “The SEC and (county election commissions) are under no court order directing us to delay any election activities. We cannot delay these activities to see what a court may do. “Some counties were asking whether they should ‘wait and see’ on the outcomes of the various lawsuits before printing and/or issuing ballots. The answer is that we can’t do that.”

Full Article: Chaotic primary season nears conclusion.

South Carolina: Chaotic primary season nears conclusion | The Times and Democrat

The 2012 South Carolina election cycle already promises to be memorable even before candidates hit the starting gate.
A S.C. Supreme Court decision that chopped about 200 candidates from the June 12 primary ballots started an avalanche of actions that threatened to postpone the primaries. State Election Commission spokesman Chris Whitmire said the election will proceed as planned. “All county election commissions should proceed with the printing of absentee ballots, preparation of voting machines, mailing of absentee ballots and the opening of the in-office absentee machines,” Whitmire said. “The SEC and (county election commissions) are under no court order directing us to delay any election activities. We cannot delay these activities to see what a court may do. “Some counties were asking whether they should ‘wait and see’ on the outcomes of the various lawsuits before printing and/or issuing ballots. The answer is that we can’t do that.”

Full Article: Chaotic primary season nears conclusion.

South Carolina: Judges Throw Out Election Lawsuit | wltx.com

A panel of federal judges threw out a lawsuit dealing with primary ballots sent overseas. Attorney Todd Kincannon argued that the state’s decision to send partial ballots to overseas voters was a violation of federal election law.  The attorney says the state Election Commission was in violation of the Voting Rights Act when it opted to send ballots with only federal races on them to military and overseas voters.

Full Article: Judges Throw Out Election Lawsuit | wltx.com.

South Carolina: Judges Throw Out Election Lawsuit | wltx.com

A panel of federal judges threw out a lawsuit dealing with primary ballots sent overseas. Attorney Todd Kincannon argued that the state’s decision to send partial ballots to overseas voters was a violation of federal election law.  The attorney says the state Election Commission was in violation of the Voting Rights Act when it opted to send ballots with only federal races on them to military and overseas voters.

Full Article: Judges Throw Out Election Lawsuit | wltx.com.

South Carolina: No problems found in Atlantic Beach voting machines | CarolinaLive.com

The voting machines Atlantic Beach town leaders refused to return to Horry County are now back in the county’s possession. The State Election Commission got the machines and conducted an audit, according to Horry County spokeswoman Lisa Bourcier. The commission said the Atlantic Beach Municipal Election Audit revealed no exceptions and no errors. The machines will be put back into rotation and will be used for future elections.

Full Article: No problems found in Atlantic Beach voting machines : News : CarolinaLive.com.