SC Politics

South Carolina Voters Erroneously Told They Must Wear Masks To Vote

Early voting in South Carolina was made legal less one month ago at the conclusion of a frenzied session of the S.C. General Assembly. At the time I asked, “how does the process work? And more importantly … will it work?“ But perhaps my most prescient question was whether state officials…

Early voting in South Carolina was made legal less one month ago at the conclusion of a frenzied session of the S.C. General Assembly.

At the time I asked, “how does the process work? And more importantly … will it work?

But perhaps my most prescient question was whether state officials – and officials at its notoriously unaccountable local election commissions – were ready.

These concerns were justified this week …

Several voters in Richland County were erroneously informed that they were required to wear masks in order to participate in early voting, sources familiar with the situation told me.

According to my sources, these erroneous instructions were delivered to multiple voters who attempted to cast early ballots on Tuesday afternoon at Parklane adult activity center – one of five early voting locations in Richland County.

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Officials with the S.C. Election Commission (SCVotes.gov) are reportedly investigating the allegations.

A source close to the matter told FITSNews there “weren’t mask requirements at the height of the pandemic and that there certainly aren’t requirements now.”

This source explained the Parklane facility requires masks – and that it was likely an employee of the facility who enforced the rule without knowing that the policy had been waived for early voters.

Richland County officials are said to have contacted facility operators to clarify that their employees may not enforce mask policies on early voters.

The South Carolina Republican Party (SCGOP) expressed its discontent over the matter.

“Requiring a mask to vote?” one party official told me. ”You don’t even have to wear a mask on a plane or anywhere else. Poll managers aren’t even being required to wear a mask. This is ridiculous, but since it’s Richland County, we’re not surprised. We’re looking into it.”


Richland County election officials were publicly criticized late last year by S.C. State Election Commission interim director Howie Knapp for a “documented and witnessed history of negligence.”

Knapp referenced widespread irregularities reported in multiple precincts during the 2021 Columbia, South Carolina municipal runoff between mayor Daniel Rickenmann and city councilwoman Tameika Isaac Devine.

Of interest? These irregularities appeared to be limited exclusively to precincts won by Rickenmann during the first round of balloting on November 2, 2021.

This history of questionable election practices in Richland County extends back much further than that, though.

After county residents narrowly rejected a tax hike in 2010, “Republican” and Democratic legislative leaders in Richland County passed a law seizing control of the local election commission and installed their hand-picked puppet as its new leader.

The result of this “coup?” Illegal shortages of voting machines in 2012 — shortages that were targeted disproportionately in districts where the tax hike was opposed. This led to abnormally long wait times and the mass disenfranchisement of anti-tax voters.

Director of special projects Dylan Nolan contributed to this story.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR …

(Via: FITSNews)

Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven children.

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