Election commission taking steps to protect integrity of voting - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Election commission taking steps to protect integrity of voting results

(Source: WIS) (Source: WIS)

Is it possible for a presidential election to be rigged in the United States?

According to Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, it is. However, that claim was shot down by Democrats, pundits, and even members of his own party.

Four years ago, similar questions were raised about a Richland County vote. Election officials had to weather a huge controversy after the election that passed the county's Transportation Penny Sales Tax. 

The 2012 election in Richland County also left scores of voters outraged by long lines, voting machine shortages and breakdowns, and lost absentee ballots. That led to widespread suspicion by tax opponents the election had been rigged.

Investigations followed the election and today, SLED still holds onto the final results of its probe. That worries tax critics like Michael Letts.

“Is it necessarily going to happen this November the 8th? I think you know it might be more difficult to do than it would be to accomplish,” Letts said. “But the fact that it exists, exists at all shows that we have got a long way to go to protect our voting rights in America.”

Although speculation about the Richland County vote in 2012 has added to the national narrative about the currently presidential race, county and state election officials are going all out to ensure next month’s polling remains secure statewide. Longtime voter turnout activist Brett Bursey said hacking election infrastructure, especially around Richland County, is almost impossible.

“The votes came in, they were slow,” Bursey said. “There was maybe some problem with capability, there's new leadership at the Richland County operation now. But the same type of delays happened in others counties and other precincts that didn't have a penny tax.”

Still, the state commission said it is working with counties as well as state and federal agencies including the FBI, Homeland Security, private IT experts, and even the military, to maintain election security.

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