BAMBERG – The election returns from Bamberg County's 13 precincts didn't reach the counting center at the J. Carl Kearse Agricultural Building until 9:15 p.m. Tuesday as a result of problems that originated at the state level with ballots, and election officials were still counting votes after 10 p.m.
The officials said it would be 11 p.m. or after before the results would be available, and they were not available at press time.
Bamberg County Councilman Trent Kinard on his Facebook page posted, “I have received a lot of calls today about citizens having to use paper ballots (especially in my district of North Bamberg).
“The issue was the state of South Carolina failed to load ballot #1 (North Bamberg had three ballot samples), and it is a state issue, not a local issue.”
“I have spoken with the State Election Commission representative that is in town, and he stated that it would be several days before giving an answer to why this happened,” Kinard said.
“I have spoken to House District 90 Rep. Justin Bamberg, and he is aware and he is working on the issue. He has also asked that you post on his Facebook page in his post where it happened to you.”
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Bamberg, who is also an attorney, told The T&D, "We have been fielding concerns from citizens all day about the required use of paper ballots as well as the fact that an unopposed member of County Council who is up for re-election was not included on the ballot.”
“Citizens should know that none of these issues is a result of the actions of our local poll workers, all of whom dedicate hours of their time to help facilitate the voting process,” the legislator added.
“My understanding is that the issues stem from Columbia, and have also occurred in other parts of the state, such as various polling precincts in Colleton County.”
Noted Bamberg, “Despite its old-school nature, the poll workers at these precincts are dedicated. I’m confident that they can handle counting the paper ballots cast and will do so honorably."
“Hopefully, Columbia will make the necessary adjustments to ensure these issues do not happen again," he said.