Explaining the legalities of running election again - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

Explaining the legalities of running election again

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People wait outside Richland County polling place to vote on election night People wait outside Richland County polling place to vote on election night

South Carolina Law Enforcement Special Services returned ballots and election material to be recounted and evaluated by the South Carolina Election Commission at the Richland County offices. 

But that does nothing for those who couldn't wait in long lines election day and didn't get to vote.  Is there a chance the election will be done over because of the problems?

There's no state law to prevent it, but probably not.  Individual candidates who feel it affected the outcome in their race, that's more realistic.

"Any candidate can protest the results for their office," said Chris Whitmire with the South Carolina Election Commission. "So a house candidate could protest the results for that election for that house district."

How the process works depends on if it's a county office or state office. That protest is filed with the appropriate election commission.

"The protest deadline is pretty quick after the election results are certified, within days," said Whitmire. "The protester would have to file the protest, we'd have to hold a hearing within days so it's not a long drawn out process."

What kind of evidence is presented?

"Usually protests hinge on either voters were allowed to vote for an office that they shouldn't have or they weren't allowed to vote for an office they should have been allowed to vote for," said Whitmire.

A citizen can only protest a ballot question, like the penny sales tax, or Governor - Lt. Governor issue. Going though the same process, they can also make concerns known.

"A voter affected, certainly they want to make their concerns known to the election commission, who can do something about it for the next time," said Whitimre.  "And I think that at this point they're well aware of the concerns of voters."

Ultimately it would be up to the commission to deny the protest or grant a new election after the hearing.  Those decisions can be appealed as far as the state Supreme Court.

Lawyers say an entire election has been held again but only after it was ordered by the court, and it rarely happens. 

Courts often don't like to be involved in election matters.  Of course, court action ordered the recount, so we'll have to wait and see. 

Election officials couldn't say how much it would cost to run the election again.

WIS has learned several attorneys in Columbia are being consulted about legal action regarding Tuesday's election, but none are willing to talk about it on the record yet.

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