Richland County election officials hope for trouble-free primary - - Columbia, South Carolina |

Richland County election officials hope for trouble-free primary

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With the statewide primary elections taking place on Tuesday, officials at the Richland County Voter Registration and Election office are hoping for a trouble-free day of voting in the June primaries.

Samuel Selph, interim director of Richland County elections, is aiming to fix issues that surfaced in a big way in November 2012 and continued to damage public confidence well into this year.

"Once you lose the trust of an individual or an entity or the people," Selph said, "it's hard to regain that trust. And I see tomorrow as the beginning of a journey to regain that trust. And we can do it."

One of those problems is not having enough voting machines. Selph says that the county has 1,087 machines that are in good shape, but the county needs 69 more to handle the needs of all Richland precincts.

The elections office also has 30 polling location technicians who can arrive in minutes at any polling place if a machine breaks down. The one thing that these technicians can't fix, however, is increasing public interest.

"It's discouraging sometimes when you see how few people actually show up and exercise that privilege that we have with being able to vote," Columbia native Rosalind Funk said.

Absentee votes jumped Monday at the main office off Hampton Street, but balloting has been relatively light. Selph says a 30 percent turnout would be great, but unlikely. 

Sidebar: June Primary

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