Many South Carolina voters were disenfranchised Tuesday by long lines and faulty voting machines that turned a simple process into a three- and four-hour ordeal. South Carolina Democratic Party Chairman Dick Harpootlian released a statement placing blame on Republican Gov. Nikki Haley, saying the state should have used the money wasted on voter ID to buy new voting machines:
Governor Nikki Haley continues to set records for ineptitude in managing the affairs of state government in South Carolina.
Voters across the state face waits of three hours or more to cast a ballot in today’s elections due to lack of working voter machines. As a result, many South Carolinian’s are being deprived of a basic right of citizenship – the right to vote. Governor Haley should of used the millions of taxpayer dollars she wasted on the voter ID bill to purchase more voting machines.
On the heels of the announcement last week that Governor Haley’s administration had allowed computer hackers to access the records of several million South Carolina taxpayers, this raises basic questions about the Governor’s competence to lead our state. Nikki Haley allows thieves to pilfer our personal information and her election commission failed to provide a speedy way to vote.
CBS News has called South Carolina for Mitt Romney, as if that’s any surprise.
With just 14 percent of precincts reporting in South Carolina’s 7th Congressional District, Democratic nominee Gloria Bromell Tinubu is currently winning with 52 percent of the vote. A Winthrop Poll earlier this month found that 49 percent of voters in the district preferred Republican nominee Tom Rice, so the results could easily flip before all the votes are counted — but tonight’s race could end up being very surprising.
With 15 percent of precincts reporting in South Carolina Senate District 23, tea party petition candidate Katrina Shealy is leading Republican Sen. Jake Knotts by a margin of 52 percent to 43 percent. Shealy was Gov. Nikki Haley’s chosen candidate in the race, with Haley even asking the state Republican Party to violate state law earlier this year by putting Shealy back on the June primary ballot.
In case the long lines didn’t already make this clear, the South Carolina Elections Commission says voter turnout will be on par with (if not exceeding) the record-breaking 2008 election. Elections spokesman Chris Whitmire released the following statement:
Voters returned approximately 400,000 absentee ballots this year, surpassing the 2008 record of 342,000 absentee ballots. Voters showed the same enthusiasm at the polls today, with anecdotal reports from across the state indicating heavy turnout. The State Election Commission expects total voter turnout to be similar to the record-setting 76 percent turnout of 2008. Participation may even surpass the 2008 record.
“The passion and dedication of South Carolina citizen for the electoral process was on display at the polls today,” said Marci Andino, executive director of the South Carolina State Election Commission. “We’re grateful to voters for their patience as they waited to cast their ballots, and we want to thank the 20,000 poll workers and election officials across the state for their tireless work to ensure that every vote counts.”
Whitmire still has not responded to Palmetto Public Record’s reports of fewer voting machines in polling places across the state, but it’s clear the increased turnout did not help things at the polling place.
As expected, South Carolina’s 7th Congressional District has flip-flopped as more votes have been counted. With 57 percent of precincts reporting, Republican Tom Rice is leading Democratic nominee Gloria Tinubu by a margin of 52 percent to 48 percent. There are still a lot of votes to count, but the race is looking more and more in the Republican candidate’s favor.
In Senate District 35, Democratic candidate Thomas McElveen holds a 10-point lead over Haley-endorsed candidate Tony Barwick. 70 percent of the votes have been counted, but the candidates are currently separated by 1,200 votes.
As you no doubt have heard, President Obama has been reelected — but there are also several state races to tell you about.
With 97 percent of precincts reporting in state Senate District 23, tea party petition candidate Katrina Shealy has ousted incumbent Republican Jake Knotts. Shealy’s victory is one of the biggest upsets of the state electoral landscape, and shows Gov. Haley’s influence still holds — in her home county, anyway.
With 80 percent of precincts reporting in House District 78, Democratic challenger Beth Bernstein is beating Republican incumbent Joan Brady by a margin of 57 percent to 43 percent. The victory is one of two big Democratic wins Tuesday night, with Senate District 35 candidate Thomas McElveen holding onto his 12-point lead over Tony Barwick with 72 percent of precincts reporting.
In South Carolina’s 7th Congressional District, Republican Tom Rice has beaten Gloria Tinubu by a margin of 54 percent to 46 percent. Senate President John Courson (R-Richland) has also beaten his Democratic challenger, Columbia attorney Robert Rikard, by a margin of 59 percent to 38 percent.
Representative-elect Beth Bernstein (D-Richland) released a statement early Wednesday morning about her defeat of incumbent Republican Joan Brady:
“The people of House district 78 have spoken and they’ve voted for a new voice. I thank Representative Joan Brady for her tireless service to our community and our state. I am so honored to accept this responsibility of representing House District 78. I can’t wait to roll up my sleeves and get to work on the issues that matter to the people of my district and my state. I want to thank the people of House District 78 for putting their trust in me and I promise to serve them with honor and integrity, and work hard every day to merit their trust.”