State GOP target Richland County senator over elections mismanag - - Columbia, South Carolina |

State GOP target Richland County senator over elections mismanagement

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State chair of the GOP Matt Moore (center) talks to the media Thursday. State chair of the GOP Matt Moore (center) talks to the media Thursday.

On Thursday, the South Carolina Republican Party took aim at democrats over the repeated mismanagement of elections in Richland County and said they started a new initiative to hold public officials accountable.

Their first targets would be Senator Joel Lourie and the Richland County Elections and Voter Registration Office.

The announcement comes as the elections office works to turn back the hands of time to before the offices merged in 2012.

"The irony is we came here two weeks ago with candidates to file and the same officials are still here, the citizens of Richland County deserve better to protect their constitutional right to vote," said Matt Moore, chair of the SC Republican Party.

The state GOP cites the long lines in 2012, the missing, uncounted ballots in November, and Howard Jackson's allegations of nepotism concerning Garry Baum as the reason for asking for all correspondence between Senator Joel Lourie and the elections office.

"I just find it hard, that you know two weeks we've been hitting hard on their DSS chief so, their response is to come attack me politically," said Sen. Joel Lourie, D-Richland County. 

Acting elections director and former board member Samuel Selph declined an on camera interview but said he has not had one request before today from the GOP. 

As for emails between the board and Lourie, he says there aren't any. 

Selph said the board cautioned Howard Jackson against firing Baum - but for other reasons. 

Those reasons have still not been made public.

As part of a WIS investigation, WIS requested emails and texts after Jackson's allegations of possible criminal wrong doing at the Office of Elections and Voter Registration. 

WIS received the documents Thursday and found no emails from Lourie and only one which talks about a personnel matter, but said that couldn't be addressed in email.  

 "They can subpoena, FOIA everything they want, they're going to be very disappointed with what they find," Lourie said.

All of this comes as the legislative delegation prepares to issue a directive as to how the offices should be split. 

The Elections Board could look very different at the end of the process.

SLED is still considering the information brought to them by Howard Jackson requesting an investigation of the office.

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