Richland County elections board sends voter ID to wrong person - - Columbia, South Carolina |

Richland County elections board sends voter ID to wrong person

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The state's Voter ID law changed in January requiring everyone to have photo identification to vote.  But when one Richland County woman got a photo ID in the mail that she wasn't expecting, she was concerned.  

"I thought there was something wrong with my eyes, so I went in and got my magnifying glass, a large one, and checked it out and looked at it and I was very surprised," said Thomasina Patterson.

She was surprised because the card has Patterson's address and birthday, but this wasn't her picture. 

So Patterson called Richland County election officials.  They told Patterson of a recent photo voter I-D drive.  They explained to Patterson the woman has the same name and wanted the free photo I-D.

"She told me, when I put the lady's name, since we have the same name, almost the same age and my information came up and that's what they issued to her," said Patterson.

Patterson claims election officials told her the woman didn't want to register to vote. She just wanted a photo ID card.

"If I had to give out all that information without getting a photo ID, how in the world could she do that?" asked Patterson.

That's what WIS wanted to know.  We went to the Richland County elections office for answers.  Dr. Jasper Salmond wasn't in but eventually we reached him by phone and he admitted it's an error and shouldn't have happened. 

Salmond also said the county doesn't have funds to hand out free photo ID cards for those not registered.  The State Election Commission echoed that, saying you're required to register to get the free photo I-D and those issuing the card should be verifying a name, birth date and Social Security number. 

Recent identity issues has Patterson double checking everything.

"Me, I go through everything that comes in my house now because there's too many things out there to happen to people," she said.

Richland County election officials tell WIS they'll put more safeguards in place and are working on a letter of apology to Patterson. 

Salmond said this was a lesson learned.

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