Beaufort Co. addresses primary election errors

Published: Oct. 14, 2022 at 4:19 PM EDT
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BEAUFORT COUNTY, Sc. (WTOC) - State and local election officials were met with a string of questions yesterday from state representatives at a meeting in Beaufort County.

All of these questions were regarding a mistake made during the primary election back in June.

”Approximately 70 voters have been given a ballot with the wrong county council seat on the ballot.,” said Howard Knapp, the executive director for the South Carolina Election Commission.

That’s the jist of what happened back in June.

The state election commission says the error was caused by a redistricting issue, around 3,200 citizens were left in incorrect voting districts, prompting state representatives to look for answers.

”It begs the question why a wealthy county like Beaufort County with an experienced staff, these problems still erupt?” said Senator Tom Davis.

On the heels of answering that question and many more Thursday, the director of the board of voter registration and elections explained what happened taking responsibility for the error first.

”It was a mistake. We recognize the mistake and I can assure the voters of Beaufort County it will not happen again,” said Marie Smalls, the director of the Beaufort County Board of Voter Registration and Elections.

She says they had done the right things in June, there was just a miscommunication getting voter district changes to the state.

”We made the corrections, it didn’t get updated in the master system.”

Redistricting won’t bring up this problem for another nine plus years, and Smalls says for the upcoming election there’s no way June’s error can repeat itself.

”We have checked, double checked, triple checked all of our street files.”

Early voting for South Carolina starts October 24th and Election Day itself is November 8th.