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Group Calls for New Richland County Election

7:43 PM, Nov 12, 2012   |    comments
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Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- Should Richland County Voters get a do-over? That's what one group is calling for, saying election day problems tainted the process.

"Voters were disenfranchised because there was a clear violation of the law and so the next question then becomes how to we rectify that?" said Michael Letts, a candidate for a Richland County Council seat. 

Letts has unofficially lost his race.  He's calling for an invalidation of the November 6th election and for a new one to take place as soon as possible.

"The only way to restore integrity back to the process is to allow hose who were disenfranchised an opportunity to participate again and that can only be accomplished with a new election," said Letts.

He was joined by county council members and a former chairman of the state election commission who all agree a new election is in order.

Letts, who pushed against the passed penny tax, says that outcome and his loss have nothing to do with his support of another election on the county races and referendums.

"Whether it fails, whether a candidate is elected or that candidate is defeated, this has simply to do with the democratic process of guaranteeing that everyone have the right to participate and that their vote counts," he said.

County Councilwoman Val Hutchinson joined the call for a new election.  She won her race, but says she's willing to risk another race.

"We can live with the will of the people if it is legitimate, in my election if I had lost it legitimately, my life would go on I would accept it because that's what a democracy is like," said Hutchinson.

She says she stood in line with voters who became more suspicious of the process as the hours rolled by.  She says Richland could lose good citizens as a result of the election mess.

As for Letts, he says the election left too many questions about what he believes was a deliberate attempt to influence the election.

"We're not sure just how deep this problem goes, but we're comfortable enough that it's deep enough that it would have changed the outcome of quite a number of elections in Richland County, had this incident not happened," said Letts.

He says they plan to send a letter to Fifth Circuit Solicitor Dan Johnson requesting an investigation into the election.  They also will request an invalidation of the election and that an new one be held in a different letter. 

 

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