RICHLAND COUNTY ELECTION MESS

A voter's voice: Felicia Pention

November 24, 2012 

Lance Hudgens hugs his wife, Jacque, close trying to keep her warm while standing in line to vote Tuesday morning at St. Michaels & All Angels Episcopal Church. Election Day in Richland County.

KIM KIM FOSTER-TOBIN — kkfoster@thestate.com Buy Photo

  • 5 key unanswered questions: Who was responsible for planning and implementing the election process? What does that plan say? How many voting machines were at each of the county’s precincts? What was the machine allocation plan based on? Why did machines at precincts not work? How many didn’t work and where were they? How many emergency machines were deployed and where? Which precincts received emergency technicians’ help? How did two styles of paper absentee ballots get printed?

Richland County voters endured horrifically long lines to vote Nov. 6, mostly, it appears, because there were not enough machines at polling places. Many left the polls without voting.

The county’s legislative delegation is holding a hearing Monday to determine what went wrong. The public may attend but will not be allowed to speak.

Here’s a voice a frustrated voter on that very long day ...

At Pontiac Elementary School, there were reports that some people became so frustrated with the wait that they left in frustration. Others stood in line outside in the early morning chill until parts of the school were opened to more people.

Voter Felicia Pention said she’d seen several people leave.

“This has been not good. I’ve been in line at least an hour and a half. I have thought about walking away, but I have not. I have seen plenty of others who have walked away. I said to them, ‘Come back.’ They said they would.”

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