Letters to the Editor

Richland County Election Commission’s removal didn’t solve all the problems

Poll workers line up to deliver election Richland County election results outside the Richland County Administration Building in 2017.
Poll workers line up to deliver election Richland County election results outside the Richland County Administration Building in 2017. The State file photo

The recent removal of the entire board of the Richland County Election Commission shines a spotlight on an ongoing problem. But voters should not be lulled into thinking that everything is taken care of.

Our state’s voting computers make mistakes and break down, leading to lines and chaos. They must be serviced by private technicians, who are outside the county’s chain of command. Election experts have sounded the alarm that these voting computers are insecure, which is why other states are moving to next generation paper ballots. Paper is less expensive, unhackable and reduces lines.

Yet our state Election Commission is doubling down. They want a new slate of basically the same voting computers, guaranteeing another decade of the same problems. Perhaps this decision has something to do with lobbying by the voting computer manufacturer, which treats state election commissioners to conferences at ritzy Las Vegas resorts.

Securing our elections will require our elected officials to appoint a board that is professional and works as a team. It will require better funding and improved space from the county and the state. It will require the state Election Commission to put voters first. And all of this needs to happen fast.

Matt Kisner

Columnbia

Election Commission problem is too many supervisors over the executive director

Here we go again, lots and lots of criticism by people who probably don’t know what it takes to run an election through staffing training, supplying and finally accounting for voters. I don’t know the majority of commission members, but I’ll tell you there was one commission member, Peter Kennedy, who always showed up to my precinct, and I believe to all others, to see how we were doing and if we needed anything at my precinct each election. In my opinion, the problem with our elections is too many people (Richland County Council, the State of South Carolina and the State Election Commission) who have supervisory responsibility over the executive director. I don’t know about you, but having more than one person to answer to while begging for resources to do your job is a snake pit! I think something needs to change if we truly want well-run elections. I’d like to see each commission member go through the training all of us have to take and then work the 14-hour election day. I also think you need to see all the work going on leading up to each election. I’m not sure how many of you try to recruit people to work and then still run an election when over 200 people who committed to work and took the training decide they don’t want to work the election. Add to that the age of the machines we’ve been working with that have passed their prime.

As far as firing the entire commission, I’m truly sorry to hear that Mr. Kennedy is gone. I feel you may have thrown the baby out with the bath water!

Helen Foley

Columbia

It’s time our representatives remove ineffective boards

I would like to commend the honorable Dick Harpootlian and Gov. McMaster for forgoing politics and doing the right thing by the citizens of Richland County and for the state of Sout Carolina.

It is time for partisan politics to go away and our representatives represent whom elected them. These two individuals challenged the Election Commission of Richland County thanks to Harpootlian and our governor for removing a “good ole boy” board. It’s time our representatives remove ineffective boards and councils. The election process in our country is sacred and needs to be managed by the best we can appoint or hire. Thank you for finally removing a board that does not do the required education. There is no room for excuses of why these classes are completed in a timely manner.

Our county and state deserve better.

David Lovit

Columbia

The State publishes a cross section of the letters we receive from South Carolinians in order to provide a forum for our community and also to allow our community to get a good look at itself, for good or bad. The letters represent the views of the letter writers, not necessarily of The State.

  Comments