WATCH LIVE: Richland Co. lawmakers grilling elections commission - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

WATCH LIVE: Richland Co. lawmakers grilling elections commission members

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Liz Crum apologizes to crowd for voting mess. (Source: Jack Kuenzie) Liz Crum apologizes to crowd for voting mess. (Source: Jack Kuenzie)
COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

Nearly three weeks after the Richland County Elections and Voter Registration Office director told WIS enough machines were deployed throughout the county, she is standing in front of the county's lawmakers to explain why thousands of residents waited hours upon hours to exercise their right to vote.

WIS is streaming the 1 p.m. meeting online. Click here to WATCH LIVE

Lillian McBride, whose salary is $86,394 per year, is expected to give the Richland County legislative delegation a detailed report on the planning and implementation that led to what some lawmakers describe as "the worst election collapse in South Carolina history."

Thousands of voters were not able to outlast the reported six hour waits in several of the county's 124 precincts. Others stayed, but left frustrated with a strong thirst for answers.

A day after the bungled election, the South Carolina Elections Commission called what happened in Richland County ridiculous.

"There's no reason a voter should have to wait in line six hours to vote," said Chris Whitmire, spokesman for the state Elections Commission. "That's unacceptable."

The problems did not stop with long lines. The county had severe issues with absentee ballot reading machines. Lawsuits and the discovery of almost two hundred paper ballots in a closet and another locked room in the election commission offices delayed a full certification for almost two weeks.

"It's one thing after another, said Richland County Republican Nathan Ballentine. "It was bad enough on Election Day. Every day it's gotten worse. All I want to do is get the delegation together and have the ability to ask questions."

Some lawmakers have even suggested that the Richland County debacle has opened the door for opening up talks in the legislature for early voting laws in South Carolina.

Meanwhile, WIS has asked a host of questions to the elections commission including how many voting machines were deployed to each precinct, how many of those were working, when the machines were tested and what the results of those tests were.

We have yet to receive any answers, but have been informed by the Richland County Ombudsman's Office that we should have documentation to provide those answers during the week of December 3.

We have done some research of our own, though. Numbers provided to us by the South Carolina Election Commission show an apparent violation of law for a large percentage of precincts because of low machine count. Click here to see our interactive map of Richland County precincts.

McBride along with elections board Chair Liz Crum will be questioned by Richland County's 11 state representatives and four state senators today in Room 105 of the Gressette Building on the State House grounds at 1:00 p.m.

The public is invited to attend, but will not be permitted to ask questions.

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