Can Richland county government do anything right? Increasingly, it is looking as though the answer to that question is a resounding “no.” Certainly we know about the county’s ongoing corruption scandal – which is currently before a statewide grand jury – but there is no shortage of garden variety incompetence to uncover, too.
And as noted previously, we are committed to uncovering all of it …
The latest drama? Ongoing issues with the county’s election commission – which made headlines after the 2018 election when it failed to count more than 1,400 ballots.
That failure came on the heels of our exclusive reporting of a voting machine virus affecting the county, which has had a long history of suspicious electoral issues.
“We simply do not trust the integrity of elections in Richland County,” we noted in our article on the voting machine virus.
Nor should we …
In 2012, readers will recall, shortages of voting machines disproportionately targeted precincts which opposed a so-called “penny” tax hike in the previous (2010) election. These illegal shortages led to abnormally long wait times in these precincts – and the mass disenfranchisement of anti-tax voters.
The result of this disenfranchisement? Narrow approval of the so-called “penny tax” – a $1.2 billion levy which has been rife with graft and corruption (leading to the aforementioned grand jury investigation).
Surely, the county has gotten its electoral issues sorted out by now though … right?
Shortly before 10:30 a.m. EST on Monday, March 2, 2020 – more than forty hours after the polls closed on the “First in the South” presidential primary – Richland county’s embattled election commission had still not fully reported results from Saturday’s voting.
Take a look …
(Click to view)
The results were only “partially reported,” according to the S.C. Election Commission (SCVotes.org).
As of 10:30 a.m. EST, however, the SCVotes.org website was updated to indicated that Richland county results had been “fully reported.”
Have they been, though?
Maybe, maybe not. State election officials told us Richland county “did not include all precincts” in reporting their results on Saturday night.
Okay … so why did it take until Monday morning for the remaining precincts to be reported?
“They decided not to work (on Sunday),” a source familiar with the situation told our news outlet.
Also, these ostensibly “final” vote counts provided to the state may still be subject to change, our source indicated – saying “there may be (some) missing absentee ballots” from Richland county that could cause the totals to be “update(d) again later today.”
Again … unbelievable. And totally unacceptable.
While the 2020 “First in the South” presidential primary wound up being a cakewalk for former U.S. vice president Joe Biden, Richland county’s ongoing failures continue to call into question the legitimacy of elections – and the integrity of the ballot – in this emerging liberal stronghold at the heart of the Palmetto Midlands.
Simply put, we still cannot trust Richland county to perform one of the most fundamental functions its government is asked to do: Count the votes cast by its citizens.
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