Group calling for new Richland County elections - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

Group calling for new Richland County elections

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

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP/WIS) - Some in Richland County are calling for new elections after issues including hours-long delays at the polls, vote counting issues and a court-ordered recount.

Voters and at least one candidate are gathering Monday at the Richland County administration building to make their case for new elections.

The event is organized by Michael Letts, a Republican who unsuccessfully challenged County Councilman Jim Manning last week. Letts says county officials used too few machines and also says there were issues with voters who tried to submit straight-party ballots.

"From what we're hearing from people on the street, without question we know in areas that voted against it the last time, those areas were shortchanged by machines," said Letts. "A deliberate decision was made as to where and how many machines were placed there."

Richland County Councilwoman Val Hutchinson says many in her district came to the same bitter conclusion after waiting hours in line.

"It took so long that they felt like it was strategic," said Hutchinson. "That somebody had made a strategic decision to starve some of the suburbs of voting machines and those people said to me as they were going through the lines as soon as I can sell my house, I'm out of here."

The penny tax passed by more than nine thousand votes, but Letts believes a new election could allow that number to return to the polls and kill the tax proposal.

"If there had not been a violation of state law, we feel very comfortable the election results in many races would have been different," said Letts.

On Tuesday, state legislators from the area are questioning county election officials about the Election Day problems.

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