Head of Lexington County Election Commission resigns in protest of council’s handling of penny ballot

rlowe@thestate.comJuly 15, 2014 

FILE

— The chairman of the Lexington County Election Commission said he has resigned in protest of Lexington County Council’s refusal to give the commission the staff and space needed to ensure a smooth election in November.

Eugene Wilbur, who has served on the commission for 4 1/2 years, said he has warned council members that Lexington County’s 160,000 voters may face long lines on election day as a result of the penny-sales-tax referendum added to the ballot.

“I’m not at all happy about the way the county council has handled this entire referendum affair,” said Wilbur, who turned in his resignation Sunday.

Wilbur said the election commission had been frozen out of any discussions about what affect changes to the November ballot would have on the conduct of the election.

“They (the county council) don’t have a clue about what it takes to put on an election,” Wilbur said.

Short explanations and price tags for each of the 93 projects that would be paid for by the proposed tax will appear on the ballot. Wilbur previously said it probably will take the typical voter 10 minutes – double the usual time – to wade through as many as 20 pages of candidates and proposals.

He raised the notion of voting problems in November “close to the Richland County debacle.” Votes, especially absentee ballots, could go uncounted because voters didn’t fill out the lengthy ballots correctly.

County Council members have scolded election officials for a sky-is-falling view, saying help will be assigned to assure polls operate smoothly.

Reporter Tim Flach contributed.

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