National voting rights commission stops in Columbia

Published: Feb. 7, 2014 at 12:39 AM EST|Updated: Feb. 17, 2014 at 12:39 AM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - A national group held the latest in a series of hearings aimed at improving the American voting system.

In a community that experienced historic turmoil trying to vote in 2012, a forum for those who think making the voting system better has to be a top level priority.

This was the fifth in a series of nationwide hearings sponsored by the National Commission on Voting Rights, a group trying to figure out what's happening as South Carolinians and other Americans attempt to exercise their basic rights.

Among the panelists was former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Ernest Finney and in the audience, Finney's daughter Nikky, who is a renowned poet.

"Please get involved, don't be silent, people in all walks of life, of all colors and all cultures, we need to have a progressive movement, so that people at the legislature, so that people who make the laws, who at this point won't change the districts, will have another thing to think about in the future of South Carolina," Nikky Finney said.

The commission is hoping to use observations and testimony gathered in Columbia and elsewhere to create a landscape of voting and elections across the U.S. and find ways to fix what's broken.

In South Carolina, that would likely include the voting machine system.

USC computer science professor Duncan Buell has spent years on that problem.

"It is a problem in many different ways, one problem, which I think is the biggest problem we've seen is that it's a very complicated system and when you hand over a very complicated system to people who are part time workers who do it every so often, you're going to have a lot of mistakes, especially after 15-17 hours days," Buell said.