Richland Co. election officials say delay in mail-in ballots due to ‘data file issue’

Richland Co. election officials say delay in mail-in ballots due to ‘data file issue’

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Frustrated Richland County voters were given the chance Friday to seek answers as they continue to wait for their absentee ballots to arrive by mail.

“I have called helpline of the Richland County Board of Voter Registration three different times this week and have gotten three different responses,” said a voter.

During a virtual meeting, Richland County officials said that the delay was caused by an issue with the “original data file” that was uploaded to their mailing service vendor.

“What happened was for some reason when they tried to download it, it was pulling in ballot styles that did not exist in our system,” explained Richland County Elections Director Alexandria Stephens.

That problem has been resolved and those ballots started being sent out to Richland County voters this week. County election officials said they are being mailed in the order that voters applied for them, dating back to January 2020.

“Over 40,000 will have been mailed as of today and then some additional ballots will be mailed out tomorrow and then again next week,” said Stephens.

The Richland County Voter Registration & Elections Board must receive your ballot by 7 p.m. on Election Day.

If for some reason you do not receive your ballot in the mail by the end of next week, you should go to one of the six in-person absentee locations in Richland County to cast an in-person absentee ballot.

“We were directed to encourage voters to wait until they receive their ballots, but I understand if you want to come and vote in person because you have not received your ballot, then by all means,” said Stephens.

Once you vote in person, that is the only vote that will count. Your mail-in ballot will not be counted and election officials said they have safeguards in place to make sure each person’s vote is only counted once.

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