The South Carolina State Election Commission (SEC) is disappointed with the conduct of yesterday’s primaries in Richland County. We know election officials and poll managers were faced with the extraordinarily difficult task of conducting an election in a pandemic. But yet again, voters were unnecessarily subjected to extreme wait times and confusion at polling places.
For the last several years, the SEC has worked to assist the Richland County Voter Registration and Elections Office (Richland Office) by providing training, guidance and recommendations aimed at improving outcomes. Unfortunately, those efforts have not produced the desired results. We, like the voters of Richland County, continue to be frustrated.
Therefore, the SEC is stepping up its involvement with the Richland Office, in the short time we have, to help prepare for a smooth Primary Runoff on June 23. This includes working in the areas of poll manager training and allocation, voting equipment testing and deployment, and election day operations. The SEC also strongly encourages the Richland County Board of Voter Registration and Elections to hire a permanent election professional to lead the office without delay. The lack of leadership within the office has gone on for far too long and remains an obstacle to effective and efficient elections going forward.
We thank voters for making the necessary sacrifices on June 9 to make their voices heard. While inspiring, voters should never have to endure the challenges faced yesterday. We want voters to know the SEC is dedicated improving the voter experience in every polling place in South Carolina.