Fired Elections Dir. Seeks State Investigation
Columbia, S.C. (WOLO) -- Recently terminated director of Richland County Elections and Voter Registration, Howard Jackson, wants a statewide, criminal investigation opened to explore allegations he has against members of the Board of Elections. Howard Jackson has come out swinging. "I was asked to do things that were unlawful," said Jackson, alleging members of the elections board committed acts of wrong-doing during his less than a year as director. "I was threatened at least ten times. There was inappropriate contact with staff members by board members." The 43-year-old military reservist is using his last days on the job this week hurling accusations against some members of the elections board, to which the director reports. "It came down to continue to do things I knew were unethical and lawful and stay here or not do them and risk losing my job. I chose the latter." He met with South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) agents Wednesday morning for about an hour, presenting what he believes amounts to criminal activity by some of the members of the board, including obstructing county wide elections. ABC Columbia News received this statement from SLED spokesperson, Thom Berry: "Mr. Jackson presented information to us. We have requested additional information from him, at which time we will take that information, review it, consult with the solicitor's office and then a determination will be made whether or not to conduct an investigation." Requests for a response from board members were unsuccessful. Late Wednesday afternoon the elections board met for a special called meeting. Members plan to discuss "personnel related issues" behind closed doors in executive session. Howard Jackson's last day on the job is Friday. SLED says there is no specific timeline on when Jackson has to submit additional information for consideration. At the present time, there is no one person in charge of the elections office with a special election coming up in March in Blythewood and the primary in june. We will have more on this story tonight on ABC Columbia News at 6:00 and 11:00.