SC

“Richland County Robbery” Rolls On

“PENNY TAX” HEIST ONE STEP AWAY FROM CERTIFICATION Despite proven illegalities and eminently plausible allegations of election fraud, Richland County, S.C. election officials are one step away from certifying the passage of a $1.2 billion sales tax hike on county consumers. According to the first official tabulations by county officials…

“PENNY TAX” HEIST ONE STEP AWAY FROM CERTIFICATION

Despite proven illegalities and eminently plausible allegations of election fraud, Richland County, S.C. election officials are one step away from certifying the passage of a $1.2 billion sales tax hike on county consumers.

According to the first official tabulations by county officials – many of whom are closely linked to the consultants and politicians pushing the plan – the so-called “penny tax” hike received 80,233 votes (52.1 percent of the vote) in last week’s countywide election.  Meanwhile a total of 73,648 county residents (47.8 percent) opposed the measure.

In case you’re keeping score at home, that’s a difference of 6,585 votes.

Take a look …

Proceeds from the tax hike are supposed to go toward infrastructure and the continued operation of the area’s money-losing public transportation system (which benefitted from a separate energy tax hike last year) – however that’s not where much of the cash has been earmarked.  In fact $50 million has been set aside for “Innovista,” a spectacularly failed speculative real estate deal run by the University of South Carolina.

Two years ago voters rejected this same tax hike by roughly 600 votes.  Not long after that election, powerful politicians in the Richland County legislative delegation (“Republicans” and Democrats alike) voted to remove a veteran election official and replace him with a group of political hacks loyal to supporters of the tax hike movement.

The result?  One of the most shameless scams we’ve ever witnessed in South Carolina politics … which is truly saying something given the rampant corruption that exists in this state.

During last week’s voting, Richland County flagrantly violated state law by failing to place enough operational voting machines at specific precinct locations.  And guess what – these shortages were almost exclusively confined to precincts that opposed the sales tax hike in 2010.  As a result voters were forced to wait in lines for as long as four to seven hours.

Not surprisingly hundreds – if not thousands of these would-be voters abandoned their quests to cast ballots.

This transparent suppression of the anti-tax vote has already prompted calls for a new election.  One thing we do know: Given Richland County’s demonstrable failure to follow the law  – and the likelihood that this failure was deliberately perpetrated for a nefarious purpose – there is absolutely no way that county leaders can certify these results.

That’s not democracy – it’s highway robbery.  Yet that’s exactly what’s supposed to transpire later this week …

This was a rigged election, people – one that will wind up putting Richland County at a severe competitive disadvantage.  Either local leaders take responsibility for that, or they will have forfeited the moral authority to govern (and we’re referring to both local and state officials with jurisdiction over the county election commission).

If that happens, all bets are off …

***

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31 comments

Destiny Now November 15, 2012 at 2:07 am

In your first paragraph, substitute “ELECTION FRAUD” for “voter fraud.”

I’m hoping the Not a Penny More group has something up their sleeve for between now and Wednesday.

Check out this site… they’re doing good work: http://www.blackboxvoting.org/

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The Colonel November 15, 2012 at 5:23 am

I’ll buy “proven ineptness” but this is such a dumb stunt that it smacks more of stupidity than a “clever cabal concoction”.

Assuming the vote is certified what recourse do the sane voters have beyond an eminently pointless law suit?

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Travis Zachary November 15, 2012 at 7:25 am

Why would anyone vote for an extra penny in sales tax? Seriously. I cannot understand why this was needed. If there was a real priority spending cuts could be made and existing tax dollars used.

Govt. will continue to grow to spend all this money. Then when it wants more money we will hear about more tax increases.

I’m not that old, but already I’ve seen the State and local governments take in millions extra with existing sales tax increases, lottery sales, tuition & fee increaes. None of this seems to provide ANYTHING better than we had back in the 1980’s or earlier.

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Smirks November 15, 2012 at 8:40 am

Why would anyone vote for an extra penny in sales tax?

Because something something save the bus system.

No, really, this is totally going to fix everything. The bus system will be funded for the next eleventy bajillion years and they’ll triple their routes. We will never hear about the struggling bus system again and by no means will Richland county ever suggest another penny tax ever again.

Richland county is totally looking out for your best interests.

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BradWarthenSucks November 15, 2012 at 9:17 am

With the state discussing a 1 cent increase in the state sales tax people in Richland County are going to be faced with 10-11 cent sales tax on items such as prepared food. I don’t feel for them, they keep voting for these things so let them deal with it.

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John November 15, 2012 at 8:16 am

The good news is the Legislative Audit Council is currently conducting an audit of our state’s voting system. This Richland county fiasco provides a textbook case in what is wrong with our system. The proven ineptness includes us, the voters, for allowing election officials to get away with providing us shoddily made machines that can not remain operable for 12 straight hours or for using scanning machines with antiquated 0286 processors. And to top if all off, no assurance or proof that the button we pressed actually registers for the candidate of our choice.

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Smirks November 15, 2012 at 8:46 am

SC should lead by example and completely redo our current voting system. Combine the ease of an electronic system and the trustworthiness of a paper system. Use the machines as the interface for voting, have them print out filled-out ballot cards that the voter can inspect, and use the ballot cards as the means of officially counting votes. (Electronic tabulators can be used to give an unofficial tally but ultimately certification should rely on the total from paper ballots.)

If we did, I’m sure most states would copy our system within the next 20 years.

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EJB November 15, 2012 at 9:51 am

It could print on adding machine paper (existing product, no added costs for proprietary products) with one copy dropping into a box and one copy put out for the voter. There are adding machines that sell for $20 or $30 so there is existing inexpensive technology that could be used and wouldn’t be a great added cost per machine (only $20 or $30 for Richland County’s machine, the one in the second basement level at the end of the hall in the room with the door that sticks and a 25 watt light bulb).

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The Colonel November 15, 2012 at 10:25 am

“Since last week, McBride has refused to explain what led to one of the most bungled elections in modern state history. Many of the county’s 124 precincts lacked sufficient numbers of voting machines and many machines broke down, resulting in waits for three to seven hours for thousands of voters across the county. Hundreds – perhaps thousands – of people dropped out of the lines and never got to vote.

I’m still waiting on the number of machines assigned to each precinct. If, as I suspect, there is a disparity in the placement of the machines adequate reason exists for a law suit.

On the 8th, in a Clif Leblanc story “The State” reported: But Baum said Tuesday night the number was between 750 and 800 of the 1,000 machines the county has. He said unused machines were broken and a couple dozen were assigned to election headquarters for “fail safe” voters, those who had moved within the county and had notified election officials.

Even if the number was 800, that’s 20% fewer machines than required by state law. Anecdotal evidence says less than 90% of the machines on site were working – that drops the number of machines actually available to about 720 – almost 30% fewer machines than required by law.

State Rep Todd Rutherford had this to say: “We’re going to get to the bottom of this,” Rutherford said. “It’s not only outrageous, it violated the law. … We’re not sitting here apologizing for it. We know something didn’t go right.”

Yet State Senator Jackson seems to be supporting Ms. McBride – I wonder why?

Our County Legislative Delegation screwed this up and it needs to be fixed – now.
“The State” reported; Richland County’s four senators — Darrell Jackson, John Courson, John Scott and Joel Lourie — introduced a bill on March 15, 2011, to combine the election and voter registration agencies, as several other counties had done. Two weeks later, with no review, the Senate passed it on second reading, by a vote of 6-0, with 35 senators voting “present.”

The first step is the firing of Ms. Mcbride
The second step is unscrewing the mess we’ve made of the RCE&VRO. The Office director should be responsible to the County Council.
The third step is a legal review of the dumb decisions made last Tuesday and a revote.

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Robert November 15, 2012 at 10:29 am

And now the aholes in Lex county want to jump on bandwagon and add penny there. When in reality, Lex county would benefit from lower tax by luring buyers across the river.

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BigT November 15, 2012 at 10:36 am

People like me are INFURIATED that we are being told to STFU…And we are VERY suspect of a rigged vote…

Nationally we have NO RECOURSE

The President HATES the other side…and plans To Ram-Rod his failure down our throats, until he crashes the idiot moderate- libertarians suffer, and wake-up…

In the Midlands you can just quit doing business in Richland. I see a lot of businesses were waiting to see this tax imposed. Now they have Recourse…

And Lexington County better start going RIGHT…or they will get dumped out of office. People are SICK of Liberal-Moderate-Libertarians, everywhere you look…

Hate Natioanlly…Act Locally…you can at least do that…

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Phonebooth Bob November 15, 2012 at 10:53 am

Big-T:
You poor misguided slut. We “Liberal-Moderate-Libertarians” vote on issues that effect our pocketbooks and our selves. We are only concerned with what effects the public, not someone else.

If Buffy wants an abortion, I don’t care. She will go to hell, not me. If she wants to take pills to prevent an abortion, that is between her and her doctor and insurance company, not me.

If Bruce and Timmy or Mary and Jane want to be a couple, so be it. It does not effect me.

But you fucked up, moronic, my values are going to be put on you Republican fuckheads are bound and determined to lose elections on these piss ant issues so that the liberals can take my cash and spend it where they want.

We live in a fucked up society: it is because the liberals want our cash, and you conservative want to tell us how to live.

It is NOT because we “Liberal-Moderate-Libertarians” want to live and let live and keep the money we earn.

Again, so I am clear to your pea sized brain, you are a fuck, you are a stupid fuck, your side loses, and you always will because of it.

Have a nice day, puke.

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Buffy November 15, 2012 at 11:03 am

For the record Bob, Buffy is decidely PRO LIFE and she pays out of pocket for her birth control.

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BigT November 15, 2012 at 12:35 pm

Think what you want phone booth…

But I’m telling Midlands residents they have a choice..

They can support your effort to FORCE your Intolerance and Hate on them…or they can strengthen the Right, by shopping in Lexington…and by Outing RINOs in LexCo.

Freedom, and freedom of thought..What a Wonderful Concept…

And Liberal, Libertarian-Moderates HATE IT….

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Guy Fawkes November 16, 2012 at 10:38 pm

You lost. Get over it and quit crying.

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Craig November 15, 2012 at 10:39 am

John McCain got more votes four years ago than Mitt Romney did after 4 years of Obama. That alone tells you that the Repub vote was suppressed. Mitt wasn’t great, but he was a hell of a lot better candidate than that loser McCain.

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Guy Fawkes November 16, 2012 at 10:38 pm

That’s some strong logic, Craig. Keep it coming.

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Roseanne November 15, 2012 at 10:43 am

There is a legal process for protesting an election, which must start immediately after it is certified. If you have evidence–not surmise–that this was a rigged election, then you are obligated as a citizen to come forward with it. If you’re just saying it was rigged because you don’t like the outcome or you dislike the people on the other side, shut up.

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Phonebooth Bob November 15, 2012 at 11:35 am

@Buffy:
Sorry. I did not intent to disparage you. The name was pulled at random. Next time I will use Latifa.

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Queen Latifa November 15, 2012 at 12:22 pm

YOu scrawny lil white bois alway tr’in ta fu wif my brif kontroll.

Lil bastads.

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Queen Latifa November 15, 2012 at 12:23 pm

U scrawney lil white bois alway try’in to fu wif my birf kontroll.

lil bastads.

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BigT November 15, 2012 at 12:38 pm

Hey Phonebooth…How’s that move to FORCE churches to give out 3rd-term Abortions???

Bet you will try to FORCE your will on the church and into Gay Marriage sanctioning too???

You hatful BAST$&d….

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Buffy (AKA Queen Latifa) November 15, 2012 at 12:48 pm

Sorry Bob, couldn’t resist…

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Bev Harris November 15, 2012 at 12:25 pm

Interesting article. I am the director of BlackBoxVoting.org. Can anyone provide documentation of (a) which precincts had shorted voting machines and (b) evidence that those precincts had voted against the tax previously? Send it to crew@blackboxvoting.org if you have it. If the distribution of voting machines in relation to past political history is nonrandom, I will help this story get more legs. I would also be interested in the referenced relationship of election office employees with proponents of the tax.

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Guy Fawkes November 16, 2012 at 10:36 pm

Of course the author of this article has no proof; otherwise, if he or she had any journalistic integrity the author would have provided that info in the editorial. It’s conspicuously missing.

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Watchingrichland November 15, 2012 at 1:23 pm

AP news just announced that 150 more ballots were “found in a bag” and are meeting to count them this afternoon!
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Richland County election officials have found 150 ballots in a bag a day after finishing their unofficial count of ballots from this month’s election.
County Election Commission attorney Steve Hamm said workers found the ballots in a sealed room not long after finishing their count Wednesday night.
The ballots were in a bag sealed by the State Law Enforcement Division, which kept control of the votes for several days while a judge determined what to do about the counting.
The Richland County Election Commission plans to meet Thursday afternoon and count the ballots.
The count Wednesday confirmed Republican businessman Kirkman Finlay won a state House seat.
Richland County reported five-hour waits to vote Nov. 6 amid broken machines and questions whether the county held back some voting devices.

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Richland-County-finds-150-uncounted-votes-in-bag-4040760.php#ixzz2CJiERvdh

Voters can still go to http://www.fair-election.com to register their voice for a new election!

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Phonebooth Bob November 15, 2012 at 2:01 pm

@Buffy, Well played!

@BigT, Only a dickhead who believes in the power of the state can even envision churches being forced to perform abortions. You see, as a Libertarian, I see the following: The state doesn’t pay for abortion, therefor abortion is not a State issue, and they cannot force anyone support one and they cannot prevent one.

You see, people like you believe in State control. What you bitch about is who controls the power, not that the State HAS the power. You are deep down, no different than Obama.

You Stateist puke!

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BigT November 15, 2012 at 2:51 pm

Evidently, PB…you have not met Obama…He don’t give a D@%n what you think…

PS: Libertarains-Liberals are so busy Dreaming, Liberals rape you anally…then cram it down your throat…

So I’m glad you libeertarian-Liberals go by “if it feels good do it”…as a religion…makes it easier to take, I guess…

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Recovering Lobbyist November 15, 2012 at 6:29 pm

Until the vote is certified, no one is harmed. When someone is harmed (when the vote is certified), there will be a lawsuit and a motion to enjoin enforcement.

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junior justice November 16, 2012 at 7:50 am

to Colonel at 10.25 – yes, and keep after them because they will be held accountable (hopefully with jail time and heavy fines)- they can’t protect their little tribal village forever – where is King Kong when we need him? – this is the only time when I truly wish that I could be an attorney.

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junior justice November 16, 2012 at 8:00 am

Jackson says that he wants McBride to handle the next election? I can’t believe that Richland County citizens can support such silly putty-brained and incompetent people. They are both maggots and intelligent voters should rise up and revolt.

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