Columbia, SC (WLTX) - The South Carolina Supreme Court has halted the recount of Richland County votes until a hearing can be held next week.
The court announced the decision Friday afternoon, just after the State Election Commision had begun counting the ballots.
Thursday, Fifth Circuit Judge Casey Manning issued a restraining order barring the certification of Tuesday's vote in the county until a recount took place. The request for the delay in certification came from the South Carolina Democratic Party.
Richland County had numerous problems on Election Day, including not enough voting machines at precincts and other machines that malfunctioned.
Manning's order also said that the State Law Enforcement Division had to take custody of all election data from Richland County election officials and ordered the State Election Commission would be in charge of counting the votes.
However, the State Republican Party filed a motion to the State Supreme Court Friday morning seeking to block that recount.SCGOP Party Chair Chad Connelly believes the Democrats only want torecount to try and overturn the results ofthe race for House District 75.
Thefinal, uncertified vote tallyshowsRepublican Kirkman Finlay defeating Democrat Joe McCulloch by 265 votes.
"Webelieve the circuit court judge has made an error relating to dealing with house and senate races," Connelly said. "So while we want to get to the bottom of Richland County, we don't think just politically connected Democrat party lawyers can violate the law in doing so. There's no reason to rush this. We won't let them steal a house seat."
Democrats, though, say they just want to see a fair accounting of the races.
"What happened over the last few days, we don't think happened correctly," said South Carolina Democratic Party Director Amanda Loveday. "If they come back and say everyone who we have said up to this point has won, great, congratulations, we look forward to seeing you serve over the next two to four years. But we want to make sure everything is happening correctly and that all the votes are counted and they're counted accurately."
The hearing is scheduled for next Tuesday at 10 a.m.