Election Director Makes Allegations Against Board

Columbia, SC (WLTX) - Tuesday, Howard Jackson the outgoing Director of the Richland County Election Commission made some serious allegations about what he calls unlawful and illegal actions that board members wanted him to do.

Jackson says that he was fired from his job because he wouldn't comply with the board whom he said was trying to control who he hired and fired.

According to Jackson, he wanted to fire Garry Baum, the deputy director of elections but that decision was met with resistance.

Jackson says members of the board told him it was a bad political move.

Baum is the brother in law of Richland senator Joel Lourie.

Jackson says the reason for firing was that Baum didn't know his job, but that he was told to stand down and not take action against him.

"I chose not to obey those unlawful orders, the decision was really easy to make, it came down to continuing to do those things that I knew were unethical and unlawful and stay here or not do them and risk losing my job, so I chose the latter," said Jackson.

Jackson ended up firing Baum and says he faced opposition in his decision to hire someone else for the job based on race.

"I went through the proper process of going through Human Resources, posting the position, interviewing for the position and I made a selection. The very first question that I got when I mentioned my selection to the board was what color is he? Not is he qualified, not where does he come from, what color is he."

Senator Lourie would not talk on camera but tells News19 that he has not had any involvement or talked to anyone about his brother in law's role at the Richland Election's office.

He says any suggestion of that is false and completely inaccurate.

"It has been a disaster," said Richland County Representative Kirkman Finlay.

Finlay says legal action needs to be taken.

"If there are allegations that people are being forced to hire people maybe its time for a SLED investigation, maybe SLED should investigate what has happened over the last two or three years," said Finlay.

Jackson says he will present evidence to SLED on Wednesday.

We have tried to contact each of the election board members and they did not return our calls.

They will have a special called meeting for Wednesday at 4 PM.

To see previous coverage CLICK HERE.


To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment
More Stories