Hampton County to investigate after elections troubles - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Hampton County to investigate after elections troubles

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ESTILL, SC (WTOC) -

Reports have been circulating that a group of citizens passed out sample ballots with the names of certain candidates highlighted, and voters said this happened at the Estill precinct on Tuesday night.

A county councilman said he saw one of the ballots and reported it to the county's election commission.

More than half of the voting machines have yet to make their way back to the Hampton County Board of Elections and Voter Registration Office.

The unofficial results came in around 11:30 p.m. Tuesday night following some technical glitches.

"The heat was real bad," said Hampton County election Commission Chair Linda Givens. "We had a little malfunction with a couple of the precincts, the machines."

Overall, the county reported a 39 percent average in voter turnout, but there's a chance some of those votes are illegal.

"What my understanding is that sample ballots were being handed out that were highlighted in a yellow marker for who the candidates were these people that were coming were supposed to vote for," said County Councilman Chris Haulsee.

Haulsee, who is not up for re-election, said someone else who voted at that Estill precinct brought him one of those sample ballots.

"The ballot did have several candidates that's marked on there in yellow highlighter pen," he said.

Haulsee said he reported the incident to Givens who went out there, but she did not see any of the highlighted ballots.

He and others are disappointed by what happened given that it was a heated race for the Coroner, Sheriff and three County Council seats.

The Election Commission said the incident is still under investigation.

"We stand behind everything that we do, and we run a fair election in Hampton County," said Givens.

The commission said it will be looking into this issue Thursday morning when they go over the official results.

There will also be a mandatory recount of votes for County Council Chairman Hugh Gary's seat given that it was less than one percent difference.

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