Saturday, May 25, 2013
Watchdog: Ensuring Voter Integrity
COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO) - Voter fraud and intimidation - with Election Day comes the potential for a whole host of problems.
So what are election officials doing to insure your voice is heard without issue?
You may be surprised to learn it's a well thought out process to make sure votes are cast with little extra fanfare.
It's the focus of this Watchdog report.
You need only turn the election clock back less than three years, and that's when then Eastover Mayor Chris Campbell was found guilty for election fraud, misconduct in office, and forgery.
It's a scene US Attorney Bill Nettles doesn't want repeated on a candidate or voter level.
He says, "It's my concern that as the country for now and that's something I hope will change in the future, that there will be animosity in the polling places because people disagree. The polling place is no place for animosity."
Nettles says this year you'll see a refined effort to control election issues, including an increased presence of federal and SLED agents spread out across the state standing by to address issues like voter fraud.
"At the risk of sounding sappy, if people don't have faith in elections, they don't have faith in government, and it is incumbent upon us to make sure the people of South Carolina have faith in the elections and democracy."
Voter intimidation is another concern on the radar, and it's one authorities say they'll be closely looking out for.
"Voters encounter many different issues on Election Day. Some of them may be that they're at the wrong polling place, but others could be that somebody is there intimidating them and not feeling welcome at the poll, and we want to stop that."
Both Nettles and Whitmire advise that as a voter, the responsibility lies with you. Should you feel your right to vote has been compromised in any fashion, you're urged to take action at once.
"The first thing they need to do is to notify the poll clerk, and the reason for that is the poll clerk is right there, and they can address any potential issue quickly, immediately, directly and take care of it."
If that situation hasn't been resolved by the poll clerk, you may log onto http://www.scvotes.org to find your correct county election commission, or call the US Attorney's office at (803) 929-3000 to file a complaint.
Wind: 6 MPH
Humidity: 55 %