McBride stands firm after delegation calls on her to resign

On Election Night, Lillian McBride looks at several PEB's from polling locations across the county.
On Election Night, Lillian McBride looks at several PEB's from polling locations across the county.

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Richland County's embattled elections chief will not tender her resignation before a deadline imposed by a majority of the county's legislative delegation, according to a statement released by her attorney late Friday afternoon.

John Nichols, counsel for Lillian McBride, said he and his client received and appreciate a resolution drafted by members of the legislative delegation, but she will continue to execute duties of her office until the elections board decides otherwise.

Eleven of the 16 members of Richland County's legislative delegation had called upon McBride to resign Friday afternoon or face an elections board vote to remove her next week.

Nichols argued Friday afternoon that the state attorney general decided authority over the director lies with the elections board, not the legislative delegation.

Nichols said he and McBride look forward to Richland County attorney Steve Hamm's final report "so that we can all make decisions based on complete information."

The acting election commission chairman said Friday afternoon that he intends to hold a meeting to deal with the issue as soon as possible. Allen Dowdy said the meeting likely won't happen before January 2 because of board members' previous commitments.

The delegation had originally asked for the meeting to take place no later than December 28.

The delegation's resolution came after Lillian McBride took back her offer to step down in January after a member of the legislative delegation talked to the media following a closed-door discussion to work out terms of her resignation earlier this week.

Representative Todd Rutherford (D-Richland) on Wednesday said McBride's attorney, John Nichols, told the delegation of McBride's intent to resign on January 8 during a closed-door session that afternoon.

"This resolution is to show the 11 members of the Richland County Delegation that signed this are sick and tired of the games that are being played," said Rutherford. "We want answers. We want them now. We know who is responsible for the election debacle on November 6th. That person is Lillian McBride and she should resign."

Delegation chair Darrell Jackson told one lawmaker on Friday that McBride had decided not to step down because Rutherford shared details of the meeting with the media after the executive session.

In response, a member of the delegation drafted a resolution which demanded Lillian McBride leave her post as Richland County Elections and Voter Registration director by 4 p.m. Friday.

Rep. James E. Smith, Jr. drafted the resolution Friday morning, which in part reads: "WHEREAS public confidence in the Richland County Elections and Voter Registration office is justifiably shattered and action must be taken to begin to restore public confidence."

"We, the undersigned members of the Richland County Legislative Delegation, call on Richland County Elections and Voter Registration Director Lillian McBride to resign immediately."

Eleven members of the 16-member delegation signed the resolution. It was Smith's intent to deliver the resolution to McBride's attorney by 11 a.m.

McBride and other members of the county elections commission have been criticized after voters were forced to wait as long as six hours to vote on Election Day in November. The decisions leading up to the debacle are currently under investigation.

Copyright 2012 WIS. All rights reserved.