Elections

Some Lexington County voters surprised to find names removed from local rolls

SC Gov. Henry McMaster votes in 2018 election

S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster votes in 2018 election at the Lourie Center Tuesday Nov. 6, 2018, in Columbia, SC. McMaster is facing the Democratic nominee state Rep. James Smith in the gubernatorial race.
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S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster votes in 2018 election at the Lourie Center Tuesday Nov. 6, 2018, in Columbia, SC. McMaster is facing the Democratic nominee state Rep. James Smith in the gubernatorial race.

As some voters in Lexington County headed to the polls, they were surprised to find their names were no longer on the books at their local precincts.

Residents who had not voted in a general election since 2010 were removed from Tuesday’s local voter rolls, Lexington County Elections Director Dean Crepes said.

Statewide, anyone registered to vote who goes years without voting are considered “inactive voters.” Inactive voters can’t cast ballots in new elections. Crepes said this often happens when people move or don’t respond to mail from local election officials.

But that doesn’t mean those Lexington residents didn’t get to vote Tuesday, Crepes said. Inactive voters could speak to Crepes, and he would change their status to active.

“That’s an easy fix,” Crepes said.

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Crepes said he assisted many residents get back on the rolls from the polling centers Tuesday morning. Inactive voters could also cast a provisional ballot, listing their voter status as the reason for casting that kind of ballot, he added.

Provisional ballots will be counted Friday.

Despite minor blips, Lexington County voting was relatively smooth, Crepes said. A few machines went down, but were quickly replaced with backups that the county keeps waiting in the wings. No one had to submit a paper emergency ballot, he added.

“Poll workers are just hustling,” Crepes said.

Lines early Tuesday morning ranged from about 40 minutes to an hour with the major influx of midterm voters. As of about 4 p.m., lines were down to about a 20 minute wait.

Neighboring Richland County had similar issues with inactive voters, Richland County Elections Commission director Rokey Suleman said. Residents lined up outside of the elections commission office throughout the day trying to get their status changed so they could cast their votes.

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