SLED investigating Richland County Elections Board - - Columbia, South Carolina

SLED investigating Richland County Elections Board

Lillian McBride Lillian McBride
Former Elections Director Howard Jackson Former Elections Director Howard Jackson

SLED has begun a full investigation into allegations brought forth by the former elections director of the Richland County Board of Elections and Voter Registration, according to a spokesperson.

Several weeks ago, Howard Jackson met with SLED and turned over potential evidence that could be used in an investigation against the board.

Meanwhile, Dan Johnson and the Fifth Circuit Solicitor's Office requested for the investigation, according to SLED spokesperson Thom Berry.

This news comes after we learned Lillian McBride is now the head of the Board of Voter Registration, an office she once held before she was promoted to elections director. 

McBride resigned as elections director following the November 2012 election that saw thousands of Richland County voters sit at the polls for hours while waiting to vote.

"In taking this action, I accept fully the responsibility for what occurred during the election on November 6, 2012," said McBride in her resignation letter.

Investigations into that day found many polling locations lacked proper amounts of available voting booths.

McBride eventually took a new position with the Elections Commission as deputy director of voter registration and absentee services.

The Board of Voter Registration and the Elections Commission once operated as one entity, but a lawsuit by the South Carolina Public Interest Foundation sought to force a split immediately.

On Thursday, Interim Commission Board Director Samuel Selph submitted a letter to Richland County Elections Commission Chairman Allen Dowdy, Judge Thomas Cooper and Richland County Delegation Chair Joe Neal informing that both boards have officially split.

The judge's order makes the current Elections Commission null and void until new members can be named. The legislative delegation must now work to create two separate boards.

However, Selph will remain in charge of the Elections Commission on an interim basis.

This week they started advertising for Election Commission members. That application period will last for the next two weeks. However, the Voter Registration Board consists of people suggested by the delegation and appointed by the governor.

Rep. Nathan Ballentine (R-Chapin) is on the delegation and says he is "working to replace them all."

Another delegation member, Rep. James Smith (D-Richland), says he's encouraged many to apply to the board.

"I've been encouraged by the response that we're getting," said Smith. "That period will be open, we'll have a nominations committee that will review all of the applicants that will be brought to the full delegation. Even at the time people can be nominated from the floor or members pulled out of the nomination."

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