Richland Elec. Official: 'That is Unacceptable'

8:27 PM, Nov 8, 2012   |    comments
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Columbia, SC (WLTX) - The chair of the Richland County Elections and Voter Registration Board of Commissioners, Elizabeth Crum, says her office will do everything it can to make sure there's not a repeat of last Tuesday's long lines at some precincts.

Crum was a guest Thursday afternoon on News19's "Friends at 5."

"We sincerely apologize," Crum began as she answered questions from WLTX's Darci Strickland and Andrea Mock.

On Tuesday, frustration grew as voting machine problems caused long lines at several precincts in the county. Some people waited over six hours to cast ballots, others were voting until past midnight, and some people got frustrated and left.

The situation has led to some lawmakers calling for changes--and answers.  

Crum said she's just as frustrated, and she wants to know the question so many have asked: why weren't there more machines deployed.

On election day, Crum says 703 of the county's 930 voting machines were deployed. Twenty-four devices were at the Richland County Election Commission's headquarters on Hampton Street, and had been used in the weeks leading up to the election.

Where were those nearly 200 machines other machines? Right now, Crum doesn't have an answer.

"We will find the answers to that," she promised.

She says the commission may have thought there would be fewer voters coming to the polls because of the record number of high absentee ballots.

She's not sure how many of the machines may have been broken that day. But she stresses that the machines still recorded all the votes.

Crum also said there were 18 technicians working to repair broken machines that day, and there were additional one sent from the State Election Commission.

So what would make it better? Crum says getting more--and newer-- machines for the county. (The devices were purchase in 2004.) Each one of those devices costs $3,500. She believes early voting would help, and having a dedicated machine for curbside voting for physically-challenged voters. (Many people reported seeing the few machines that were available taken out for long stretches to accommodate these voters.)

For now, Crum says there has been an audit of the votes, and all ballots will be recounted by the South Carolina Election Commission.

"We will not let that [Tuesday's situation] happen again," Crum said. ""Something will come of it."

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