Richland Co. finally certifies Nov. 6 election results - - Columbia, South Carolina |

Richland Co. finally certifies Nov. 6 election results

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Officials count ballots. (Source: Jennifer Emert) Officials count ballots. (Source: Jennifer Emert)
The ballots (Source: Jennifer Emert) The ballots (Source: Jennifer Emert)

After delays, recounts, legal moves, and Supreme Court rulings, the Richland County Election Commission has finally certified its result from the Nov. 6 election.

The certification comes after two extensions from the state Supreme Court late Friday afternoon, which finally gave the commission until noon Monday to complete the process.

Now that Richland County has certified the election results, they are in the hands of the State Election Commission.  They'll work over the weekend on their audit and will finish it before certifying the result for the state Monday at 2:00 pm.

"I think that we have counted all of the ballots and we have a triple redundancy," said Richland County Election Board Chair Liz Crum. "We have the state election commission performing an audit behind us to make certain that we've counted all of the machines and all of the PED's and all of the flash cards."

Officials have been meeting inside Richland County Council chambers to consider and count provisional, fail-safe, and contested ballots.

They had hoped to meet a deadline to certify the election by noon, which was set by the SC Supreme Court earlier in the week. When that seemed improbable, they asked the high court for two more hours. Then, at 2 p.m., elections officials asked for another two hours.

"I've been told very sternly by the chairman, that they want a report that is straightforward and candid so the public can be reassured that number one, we openly acknowledge we've had some problems in this election and that we intend to take the kind of corrective actions consistent with what the chairman just said," said the Attorney for the Richland County Election Board Steve Hamm.   "And that is so we don't encounter this experience in the future."

Despite reports of voting machines being left at polling places, Hamm said there are no additional ballots to count.

Hamm called finding approximately 193 extra ballots on Thursday "unfortunate and embarrassing." Those ballots, found in a closet and in a sealed room inside the building, were tallied on Thursday, but did not change results in any key contests.

On Thursday night WIS received pictures of voting machines that appeared to have been unaccounted for in two different precincts in Richland County.

A WIS viewer took photos of the machines spotted at E.L. Wright Middle School in Northeast Columbia Thursday night. And more voting machines were found at a precinct on Brandon Ave. near Hampton Park in Southeast Columbia.

Along with the machines were signs that said "vote here."

The photos show the machines have red tags on them. On Election Night, Jody Barr reports a poll worker told him the red tags are to stay on the machines until they are unsealed for tabulation.

Marci Andino with the South Carolina Election Commission informed Barr via Twitter Thursday night that they "don't need voting machines to count votes."

Richland County reported five-hour waits to vote Nov. 6 amid broken machines and questions whether the county held back some voting devices.

Copyright 2012 WIS. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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