AIKEN COUNTY, S.C. (WJBF) — A pickup truck helping voters to cast their ballots is not something you’ll often see.
“People were like, What’s going on? Like, is this okay? And how is this happening?,” Aiken County State Republican Party Executive Committee member Jane Page Thompson told NewsChannel 6’s Aiken Bureau Chief Shawn Cabbagestalk.
Thompson said the North Augusta High School polling location was locked Tuesday morning. Those nearby sprang into action. “The poll workers, the watchers, and the commissioner all got together. They set up the paper ballot system and the back of a pickup truck and opened the polls at seven o’clock so people could vote.” Thompson said. “It doesn’t happen often that a poll watcher is deputized at an election,” she added.
Aiken County State Republican Party traveled to several precincts where they noticed understaffing issues. “There was one precinct to Warrenville Elementary. They were probably running three to four people low based on their turnout. And those people worked so hard and were so great,” she shared.
They also noticed issues with voting machines. “We had 14 precincts report issues with straight party ticket pushes switching to a different party and to the point where machines were taken out of service yesterday because of that issue.
Some voters also noticed the problem. “I was stunned. And then the response from the people working the election said. “‘Don’t say that. Don’t say that you won’t count. I guarantee we’ll put ’em through,'” she said. The Aiken County Democratic Party leaders say the issue could be because of new equipment.
“The primary issue we saw was that the new electronic poll books provided some problems. They got solved, but that’s the first step in going to vote, Aiken County Democratic Party second Vice Chair and Poll Watcher Coordinator Ann Willbrand said. “If there is a bottleneck, then it does cause lines to get kinda long for a little while,” she added.
Electronic poll books are a replacement for either a laptop with the voter file on it or a big paper photo file. The voter presents their driver’s license. They scan it, their record pops up, the poll manager verifies the address, the voter signs on the screen, and then the ballot card is printed for them. That goes into the ballot marking device. It’ll bring up the correct ballot for where they live.
For other voters, election day was a positive experience. “Came in, it was smooth, no hiccups at all,” Richard Adams said. “I was delighted to see that there were a lot of people there,” Douglas Noel shared. “Count every vote. Because that’s what matters on election day,” Thompson added.
Meanwhile, Thompson said the North Augusta issue was just a minor inconvenience. “I think there was probably an inconvenience of about an hour, hour and a half, but it was just a wonderful coming together of all of the different elements the way it should when something goes wrong,” she said.