Chairman calls for explanation from election commission

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Published: Aug. 20, 2022 at 2:01 PM EDT

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Representative Leon Howard of House District 76 has ordered a legislative delegation on behalf of ‘disgruntled’ election workers.

Poll clerks and managers who worked in the Richland County precincts during June’s primary and runoff elections reported no payment until Aug. 5 or thereafter.

“That was so wrong, to treat us as though we’re insignificant. Especially when [Richland County] needs us so badly,” said Susan, a veteran poll worker of twenty consecutive years.

Alexandria Stephens, Director of the Board of Voter Registration and Elections was reportedly out of the office when WIS first inquired for comment on July 28. The request was later denied by Board Chair Anjanette President.

On Aug. 15, Director Stephens resigned from her position with an effective date of Aug. 29. Director Graham is expected to assume her position either temporarily or permanently. Neither responded to emails or phone calls from WIS on Friday.

“[Director Stephens] didn’t do her job properly. Taking almost two months to get paid is kind of depressing. I guess... we’re not full-time people so it didn’t matter if we got paid,” said Terri Shup, who received her direct deposit on Aug. 11.

State Representative Leon Howard, Chair to the Legislative Delegation that appoints members to the Board of Voter Registration and Elections, says Director Stephens’ resignation is untimely.

“We expect to hire good people who can do good work and get the job done. And at the end of the day, Director Stephens is an executive director. The buck stops with her... she needs to be held accountable and responsible for whatever happened,” said Rep. Howard over the phone.

In response to growing concerns and employee changes, Rep. Howard announced a special meeting of the Legislative Delegation on Aug. 23 at 10:00 a.m. He says that someone from the election commission will provide an update on what happened, as well as plans to ensure poll workers are treated with respect moving forward.

“We need [poll workers] to know that we appreciate their service and that we apologize for the inconvenience... we need to make sure people are paid timely and ensure that future elections run smoothly,” concluded Rep. Howard.

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