Chaos would be an understatement in describing the handling of the 2008 Republican Primary Elections in Horry County, South Carolina this past Saturday evening. Horry County is located on the coast of South Carolina and is home to Myrtle Beach. Murphy’s Law was in full effect for the Horry County Elections Commission as things that could go wrong, did go wrong.
A massive 80% of the ESS electronic voting machines were not able to “open up” in Saturday’s primary forcing almost all Horry County precincts to use paper ballots. When precincts opened Saturday morning a majority of the voting machines would not work at all. The Seawinds precinct had reported that the electronic voting machines were down “county wide.”
Paper ballots were issued to Horry County citizens in replacement of the voting machines. The process at the Seawinds precinct was you would take the backup ballot to a table and fill in the bubble next to the candidate that you wished to select in the primary. After filling in the bubble, you would next fold your ballot back and slide it in the manila envelope that you were given and return it to the precinct worker. On one side of the manila envelope you would put your name, address, and your signature. However, this was not protocol in Horry County.
Make A Difference In Horry County has confirmed that some precincts passed out legal pads and simply asked the voters to write their candidate’s name on the 8.5X11 paper. Early reports show that one precinct reportedly turned away voters for seven hours consecutively while at least one other precinct turned away voters but it is currently unknown as to how long. While it is still very early, it is not understood as to why this happened. If one precinct was able to simply ask voters to cast their ballot by writing their candidate down on a piece of paper, than why would another precinct turn away voters?
For those in Horry County who are not a fan of the electronic voting machines, the disabled machines could have been a blessing in disguise. The reason is simply because the South Carolina state Constitution specifically notes that ballots are not allowed be counted in secret. As it has been speculated that this only applies to the paper balloting, there was no back door for Horry County as the paper ballots had to be counted in public.
As Make A Difference In Horry County will investigate the plethora of information that was recorded via video and transcript over the election day, we will also be looking into a potential situation where voter fraud could have taken place. Our reasons for this include the fact that technicians did repair voting machines at precincts where voting machines were down, but it is unknown if the machines were set to a zero count. Additionally, votes were cast on yellow legal pad paper at a particular precinct and later counted in a room filled with stacks of the identical same yellow legal pad paper that was openly used by county officials while those ballots were being counted leaving the possibility open that suspicious activities could have taken place.
Please stay tuned for the latest information at www.madinhorrycounty.com