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Where Is South Carolina’s Voter File?

Good question …

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Every two years, Christmas comes in the heat of summer for South Carolina political junkies …

That’s when the S.C. Election Commission (SCVotes.org) releases its updated voter file from the Palmetto State’s most recent partisan primary elections.

This list – which can be purchased for around $2,500 – is eagerly devoured by politicos across the state and the nation (remember, South Carolina hosts a quadrennial presidential preference primary every four years).

This year there is a problem with the list, though …

According to our sources at the commission, voter history data from four Lexington County, S.C. precincts is “missing.”  The search for this missing data has led to a lengthy delay in the publication of the updated voter file.

So … where is the data from the four missing precincts?

No one seems to know …

We reached out to Dean Crepes, director of the Lexington County commission of registration and elections, in an effort to get to the bottom of the situation.

According to Crepes, recently returned state audits of his county’s election results have come back showing no issues – although he declined to provide copies of these audits to us.

Why not?  Because our founding editor Will Folks refused to divulge the identify of his confidential source at SCVotes.

News flash for Crepes: We don’t rat out sources … for any reason.

Speaking of our sources at the commission, they told us a clean audit merely referred to accurate vote tabulations – not necessarily a proper recapitulation of voter histories.

“There could still be issues with the voter histories,” the source told us.

Which is the data people pay for …

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Also worth noting, Lexington County is one of several counties in the Palmetto State where precinct boundaries have been called into question in the not-too-distant past.  Specifically, lines recognized by the county are not the same as those recognized by the state.

SCVotes officials made it clear they were not blaming Crepes’ agency for the problem, acknowledging the issue “could be on our end.”

We aren’t blaming him either …

Whichever bureaucracy is responsible for the delay, though, the end result is a lack of compliance with state law.

The statewide voter file is supposed to be made available within thirty days of the election – which would have been July 12.

This is of particular interest given that Lexington County is currently in the midst of a special election to fill a vacant S.C. Senate seat – meaning the seven candidates who filed for that district (three of whom are still standing) are essentially flying blind when it comes to voter targeting.

Stay tuned … in the event we get some clarity on this situation we will be sure to pass it along to our readers.

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