Preliminary report on Richland County election mess due tomorrow

cleblanc@thestate.comDecember 5, 2012 

— Preliminary findings from the Richland County elections board inquiry into the botched Nov. 6 election are to be presented to the board Thursday afternoon.

Steve Hamm, the Columbia attorney hired by the Board of Elections and Voter Registration, said Tuesday he plans to present his report to the board, which meets at 4 p.m. in County Council chambers at the county administration building, 2020 Hampton St.

Hamm is widely expected to submit his preliminary findings about the root causes of long delays on Election Day. He said again Tuesday that he is unsure if his report will be made publicly or presented in a closed-door meeting of the board. That will be up to the board, Hamm said.

Last week, he and the board said his early findings would be released today.

The scheduling of the board meeting just after the legislative delegation meetings raises the prospect that state lawmakers, who select the board and chose Lillian McBride to run the elections office, are positioned to take action.

McBride and her office have widely been blamed for what many critics have said is South Carolina’s most mangled election. Many voters have been demanding disciplinary action for a month.

The delegation announced Tuesday that its appointments committee is to meet at 1:30 p.m. today to consider applicants for two vacancies on the five-member elections board. The committee meets in Room 424 of the Blatt Building on the State House grounds.

Elections board chairman Liz Crum is stepping down at the end of her term in mid-March and board member Tina Herbert resigned in mid-October.

Thursday morning, the full delegation is scheduled to meet at 11 a.m. in room 201 at Midlands Tech’s Beltline Boulevard campus. Its agenda includes consideration of appointees to the elections board and other offices. Also on the agenda is discussion of McBride’s office and the Nov. 6 election. The public can attend.

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