Bill Would Make Election Directors State Employees

Columbia, SC (WLTX) - The directors of each county election commission would become state employees under a proposal being discussed at the State House.

The House Judiciary Committee voted to advance the measure to the full House Tuesday afternoon.

Under the plan, the directors would answer directly to the South Carolina Election Commission, rather than the current system, where a county board oversees the position. The bill would also establish state minimum qualifications for the job.

It also provides that If a county can't certify an election within 48 hours, the state would take over the results process.

The bill is being discussed even as a major controversy surrounds the Richland County Election Commission. On Monday, commission's board voted 4-1 to remove Howard Jackson as its director. At a news conference Tuesday, however, Jackson slammed the board, saying they constantly gave him "unlawful orders" and threatened his job on multiple occasions. Related Coverage:Jackson Slams Election Board

Jackson said he planned to go to the State Law Enforcement Division with his concerns.

The proposed law states that if there is a difference of opinion between local officials and the state, the State Election Commission and the director's opinion supercedes. For example, if an employee fails to act on the director and commission's directives, that person would be fired. If the county board failed to fire that employee, the local boardmembers themselves could face removal from office.


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