Fired Elections Director Slams Board

Jackson says 'it came down to a power struggle'

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By Monique Williams

Columbia, S.C. (WOLO) -- Recently terminated Richland County Elections and Voter Registration Director, Howard Jackson, claims the Richland County board of elections, to which he reported, made it virtually impossible for him to do his job. He says he's so upset he plans to take his concerns to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED). He believes actions by some of the board members amount to what he calls 'criminal activity.'

He says solving on going issues of uncounted ballots, broken voting machines and long lines that plagued the November 2012 general election and others that followed would never be rectified because he couldn't reprimand those in his office he says were responsible for the fall out.

"[The board] wanted to ratify all of my decisions," said Jackson. "Every decision I brought to the board was to stand down."

Jackson claims he was badgered, bullied and reprimanded because he fired deputy director Gerry Baum against the wishes of the board.

"I was told i was insubordinate for those actions," said Jackson.

Baum, is the brother-in-law of democratic state senator Joel Lourie, and the board allegedly told Jackson terminating the deputy director would be a "bad political move."

Lourie told ABC Columbia News by phone at no time has he discussed his brother-in-law's job with any member of the board, past or present.

Another reason Jackson claims he was fired was the battle that ensued when he tried to find Baum's replacement.

"The first question I got when I mentioned my selection to the board was 'what color is he?' not is he qualified, but what color is he? I was told to rescind the offer to see if we could get another qualified applicant."

However, according to a member of the Richland County Elections Delegation, who wants to remain anonymous, the board has every right to question the actions of any director because the director serves "at the pleasure" of the board, and it has every right to terminate at will.

Efforts to reach each board member for responses were unsuccessful.

While board members may not be speaking out individually, we did receive word they have scheduled a special called meeting to tomorrow to discuss "personnel related issues." while board members may not be speaking out individually, we did receive word they have scheduled a special called meeting to tomorrow to discuss "personnel related issues."

Jackson's official last day on the job is Friday, February 28.

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Wanda said on Thursday, Feb 27 at 5:20 PM

I do beleive that justive will prevail. My prayer is that the truth comes out. If these alegations are true, than there should be serious actions taken against those who are involved.

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sylmer brown said on Wednesday, Feb 26 at 3:44 AM

this is whats wrong with south Carolina this is a prejudice state the governor is no good the man mr Jackson was doing his job the people on the board should be terminated and punish you get good person in position then you treat them like dirt this city and state is corrupt from the governor on down if the shoe fits then I am talking about you we as black americans don't get a chance to speak out I have a lot too say and I will get on t.v. voice my opion about some of you people here in south Carolina especially Columbia s.c. its a shame you cant have peace.people in position on the board and the person who is in charge over them is not straight up but rather be crooked put mr Jackson back to work which I know you want ,because he has bust your bubble I am glad he expose the people we need more people like him thanks mr Jackson for doing what you did I would have done the same thing if anyone got something to say about what I said come see me but you better come straight im not back

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