Richland County Legislative Delegation moving forward to split board of elections and voter registration to two boards

Published: Mar. 12, 2014 at 10:22 PM EDT|Updated: Mar. 22, 2014 at 10:22 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - The Richland County Election Commission will soon function as two separate boards again.

After being ruled unconstitutional last year, the Richland County Legislative Delegation now must take action.

Two weeks ago, former Richland County Election Commission Director Howard Jackson came forward with claims of corruption and ethics concerns.

Since then, the limelight is back on the board and it brought attention to the fact that the combined structure of the Richland County Election Commission is unconstitutional.

That was a ruling by a circuit judge Thomas Cooper last year, a ruling that was never upheld.

The chairman of the legislative delegation, Rep. Joe Neal, D-Hopkins, said it is time for a change, to legally separate elections from voter registration.

Each office will have its own board and director.

Sen. Joel Lourie, R-Richland County, said that is the direction the delegation is moving.

"We're going to go back to where we were before we passed the local legislation," Lourie said. "We passed the legislation similar to about 35 other counties, we're not the only county that's done this, there's about 35 other counties that did exactly what we did. Since local legislation has been ruled unconstitutional, you have to basically just go back to what existed prior to that legislation passing, you had two separate boards and that's where we'll end up."

Neal added the delegation will be acting in the next few days to start the change.

We also found out from SLED Wednesday, they are still reviewing the information Jackson submitted in regard to his claims.

SLED has not decided whether they will pursue a full investigation.

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