USC professor calls Tuesday's Richland Co. election a failure - - Columbia, South Carolina |

USC professor calls Tuesday's Richland Co. election a failure

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What went wrong on Election Day in Richland County? University of South Carolina professor Dr. Duncan Buell believes it had a lot to do with the voting machines and two problems: too few machines and too many not in working order.

"My own precinct we had six instead of eight," said Buell. "I was a poll watcher at other precincts, and they had six instead of eight."

We were told on Wednesday the county used 800 of the 1,000 machines the county has available. Buell believes it was fewer than what they're saying because they used 803 in the general elections of 2010 and many polling locations were short machines Tuesday.

"There were eight machines at the Lincolnshire precinct that I have data for in 2010, and there were six machines at Lincolnshire and one of which broke early on," said Buell. "It was broken when they started and it took until 9:20 in the morning or so the technician to arrive to try and fix it."

Through analyzing the data Buell says he's seen the same problems re-occurring.

"One of the problems in Ward 21 that led to votes not being counted in November of 2010 occurred again in the GOP Primary in Ward 21, and if that's the case, whoever is the lead poll manager needs to be educated or replaced, because if they make the same mistake twice in a row, something's wrong," said Buell. "That can be fixed."

"In November 2010, six of the eight machines in Bluff precinct in Richland did not get closed," said Buell. "This was not discovered until the 9th of November after the certified count."

That's a total of 755 votes. For two days, we've asked Richland County election officials for a list of the number of machines at each precinct. We were promised that information on Thursday, only to be told it will be revealed Tuesday during a hearing before the legislative delegation.

Dr. Buell will be anxious to see what information will come out of Richland County's machines when it's released.

"We know how many votes per machine, we know how that compares with other precincts around the state, we know that because I've run the program on the data," said Buell.

On a laptop, it only takes him 11 minutes to analyze the data. It's information he's willing to give government and election officials, but no one has wanted to see it in the past.

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