Benedict College is attempting to refute reports that there have been incidents of voter intimidation on campus. A blog post on jackandjillpolitics.com suggested "Tea Party folks" were interferring with student voting. "They are protesting student votes and making them vote with provisional ballots. Please go down to this polling place if you are nearby or call the police if you are a resident."
Kymm Hunter, who is in the communications and marketing department of the school, said that claims of voter intimidation were not true.
"I’m trying to speak to the person who put that out there," said Hunter, who has fielded calls from The Washington Post, The Associated Press and other media outlets including The State.
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Hunter said Benedict students were turned away because their student ID cards did not meet the requirements for voter identification. The school is currently organizing transportation for the students, who did not have their voter ID cards, to go to county offices to get replacement cards. Mayor Steve Benjamin is on the campus assisting with the process.
Voter law is complicated, but, in short, a voter who votes in person must present a valid photo ID or a copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck or other government document that shows the name and address of the voter. An individual who desires to vote in person, but who does not meet the requirements, may cast a provisional ballot.
"Every voter has to show one of three things," a driver’s licence, a DMV-issued ID or voter registration card, said Chris Whitmire, spokesman for the state election commission.
However, there’s a caveat. If a person registered to vote by mail and did not provide a copy of their ID and this is their first time voting, a student ID can be used to complete the registration process. But a voter ID card must also be shown to poll workers at the time of voting.
"No one can vote with just a student ID," Whitmire said.
By Otis Taylor
Here’s an early look at what some Richland and Lexington county voters were saying Tuesday about their choice in the governor’s race.
"I voted for Haley because she’s the best person for the job. She has proven that she will fight for what she believes in. I’ve followed her since she got elected in her precinct, and she’s impressive." Grady Merritt, 65, retired from Mid-Carolina Electric Co-Op, Oak Grove
"I voted for Sheheen because he has a great track record, is positive about the things he wants to do, has great management skills and is just a good person. I think he actually gives a lick about our kids too." Jeff Magun, 69, retired, Briarwood
"I voted for Nikki Haley because her views matched mine the most."Rebecca Floyd, 24, teacher, Seven Oaks
"I’ve always been a Democrat and voted for Sheheen because Republicans are not helping the nation. We are suffering from a big problem." Charles Holloway, 65, grandfather, The Summit
"Haley represents change. My family has been in politics so long, and Sheheen wouldn’t do anything differently." Jack Taylor , 49, residential home builder, The Woodlands
"I chose Vincent Sheheen because I liked his platform and how it is strong in education. I also did not like what I was hearing about Haley."Jennifer Baxley, 37, software developer, Melrose Heights
"I voted for Nikki Haley because her views matched mine the most." Rebecca Floyd, 24, teacher who lives in Seven Oaks
"Sheheen because I think he is far more qualified." Julie Strauss, 55, administrative assistant, Archers Courts
University of South Carolina journalism students Amy Smith, Melody Burdette, Sara Leary, Jenna Kepley, Mallory Cage, Brittany Scott, Ryta Goodyear, Courtney Powers, Corbin Ensminger and David Purtell compiled this report.
By Bertram Rantin
Veteran 5th District Rep. John Spratt said today the polls may show him trailing Republican state Sen. Mick Mulvaney, but the personal poll he takes every day suggests otherwise.
Spratt, who has served in Congress for 28 years, said he has enjoyed warm receptions at rallies throughoutthe district. This morning, he met the early shift at Abitibi Bowaterplant in Catawba, stopped by the Ebenezer Grill in Rock Hill and votedat Cotton Belt Elementary School.
Spratt, who is considered a leading expert on the federal budget, has focused on jobs and the economy, whileMulvaney has targeted Spratt's vote on health care reform and his ties to national Democratic leadership.
11:30 a.m. The voting problems experienced in Kershaw County early today seemed to be fixed by 11 a.m.
Chris Oder left the Elgin Town Hall precinct before 8 a.m. when lines ground to a halt because of computer problems. But he returned around 11 a.m. and zipped through the voting process, he said.
Kershaw County elections director Rosalind Watson said something went wrong with the registration lists in the laptop computers used at check-in tables. Based on information from those computers, some voters ended up with the wrong ballots. For example, one voter’s ballot had the wrong S.C. House race. That voter contacted poll workers, who canceled the ballot.
Precinct workers were instructed to use more cumbersome paper lists of registered voters until the laptop program was worked out, Watson said. The Elgin Town Hall precinct briefly resorted to using paper ballots before the problems were fixed.
Morning turnout was spotty. Some precincts reported big crowds, while others had no waiting lines at all. Most lines had thinned out by mid-morning, but nearly 100 people were backed up at the White Hall precinct near Irmo at 11 a.m. More than 500 already had voted at White Hall by then. Nearby, there were fewer people in line at the Quail Valley precinct and no lines at the Seven Oaks precinct.
By Joey Holleman
10:00 a.m. The voting problems in Kershaw County this morning involve the computer registration lists in laptops used at check-in. Some of those computerized lists are indicating the wrong ballot style.
For example, at least one voter was set up on a voting machine with a ballot that had the wrong S.C. House district, said Rosalind Watson, director of elections for the county. That voter realized the ballot was wrong, notified poll workers and the ballot was cancelled.
The voting machines themselves are working fine, Watson said. She instructed poll workers to use paper lists of voters and ballots to work around the laptop registration list problem.
Poll workers resorted to paper ballots at Elgin Town Hall while working out the computer problem. One voter there said he gave up and left when the precinct ran out of paper ballots. Another voter e-mailed The State to complain that his ballot didn’t list the Kershaw County sheriff’s race.
A voting machine malfunction reduced the number of voting booths from four to three at the Melrose Park precinct in Richland County, but voters there had only a short wait to cast their ballots.
The heavy voting reports in Northeast Richland continued with more than 1,000 votes cast by 9:30 a.m. at Polo Road. Problems getting voting machines started delayed the opening of that precinct about five minutes, but nearly 500 votes had been processed by 7:30 a.m., the poll manager said.
By Joey Holleman
9:20 a.m. Voting machine problems in Kershaw County early today forced some voters to use paper ballots, and at least one precinct ran out of the paper ballots.
The problem involved the machines not automatically producing the proper ballot style for each voter in precincts with multiple ballots, said Rosalind Watson, director of elections for the county.
Poll workers resorted to paper ballots while working out the computer problem, but at 9 a.m. Watson said poll workers had figured a method for getting the right computer ballots for each voter.
One voter at Elgin Town Hall said he gave up and left when the precinct ran out of paper ballots. Another voter e-mailed The State to complain that his ballot didn’t list the Kershaw County sheriff’s race.
Lines were short or non-existent early in the day at Eau Claire High School in Richland County and Lexington Intermediate School in Lexington County. Saxe Gotha Presbyterian Church in Lexington was much busier, with 100 voters by 8:30 a.m., but lines were minimal.
Summit Parkway Middle School in Richland County was packed early, with 691 people voting by 9 a.m. in the Parkway 1 precinct and 404 in the Parkway 2 precinct. Despite the high numbers there, lines were moving quickly.
By Joey Holleman
8:30 a.m. Cloudy skies and cool temperatures greeted South Carolinians as many lined up to vote before heading to work today.
Lines of people snaked out of several Lexington County polling places. At Cromer precinct, 60 people had voted by 7:30 a.m., and another 40 people were waiting for their chance. Next door at Oakwood precinct, the line wrapped halfway around the basketball court in the Oakwood Baptist Church gym, where 77 people had voted by 7:40 a.m. and about that many more were in line.
Election officials have predicted a heavier-than-normal turnout for a mid-term election. The early numbers at those two Lexington County precincts - both typically Republican strongholds - were higher than the last mid-term election and only slightly lower than the 2008 general election.
At Elgin Town Hall, early problems with voting machines forced election officials to resort to paper ballots, and they quickly ran out of paper ballots. Voter Chris Oder said the problems backed up voters, forcing him and others to leave for work before voting. He hoped to return in the afternoon.
By Joey Holleman, The State