Poll worker: We knew of machine shortage two weeks before election

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - It's been approximately two days since Richland County election officials attempted to answer some tough questions about why so many people waited so many hours to vote on Election Day.

Why weren't there enough machines?

Richland County's elections commission director Lillian McBride says it was too late when she realized they were short.

However, poll workers are saying the machine shortage was common knowledge weeks before November 6.

At Brennen Elementary, Helen Munnerlyn was the leader of the polls. Helen has been running the polls for five years, and believes it's a civic duty.

But this year, Helen says her job got a bit complicated. Helen says someone with elections told her this round she was only getting three or four voting machines

"I said that's not enough machines," said Helen. "Who do I call to get more?  She said we'll put you on a list to get more machines but we can't promise you anything."

Munnerlyn says an election official told her the news about two weeks before the election.

After doing the math, she says she realized her voters were in for a wait, so she planned ahead, even created some handmade warnings.

"Signs posted everywhere," Helen added. "It says please be patient, limited machines."

According to Munnerlyn, she knew ahead of time that they were going to have fewer machines.

Someone who says she did not know ahead of time there was a shortage of machines was director of elections, Lillian McBride, who is also Helen Munnerlyn's director.

Only thing I can tell, if you have fewer machines, you're going to have more of a delay," Munnerlyn added. "That's just logic."

Munnerlyn says she plans to work the polls again. She says every vote should count and every voter should be able to count on voting.

Since WIS first reported this story, we've received an email from another poll worker.

The poll worker forwarded us an email indicating that he found out about the shortage of machines in September.

WIS will be following up on his account as our investigation continues.

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