EDITORIAL: Deal with election issues now, rather than later

  • Posted: Tuesday, November 13, 2012 6:34 p.m.

A lot has been said about long lines to vote across much of the country last week, including here in Aiken County. Our local legislative delegation wasted no time bringing up the matter Monday when the group met.

We are glad they are looking into the complaints quickly, but we hope itís not just lip-service during the post-election fury.

The next big election isnít for two years, when the state votes for governor, a U.S. Senate seat, many state Legislature seats and for U.S. House members. Deal with the problem now, not a month before that election.

County Registration and Elections Executive Director Cynthia Holland denies many of the anecdotal charges levied at her handling of the election. She agreed the waits to vote were long.

The solution: more voting machines, which she has asked for.

But her request for 10 additional machines and four Americans with Disabilities Act machines, totaling $31,000 was denied because of budget limitations. We can understand that.

But that denial lead to many of the problems last week. Now the County Council needs to decide if it wants to ante up the money or face the possible wrath of voters in two years.

Surely, in a budget the size of Aiken Countyís, thereís $31,000 for additional voting machines of the course of two years

Voters need to remember is that this election was an anomaly, with petition candidates and write-in campaigns like we havenít seen before. If a voter wasnít well-informed or was still undecided, it might have taken more time to cast their ballot. We are guaranteed the right to vote, but we are not required to make sure we cast an informed vote.

The 2012 election is over. Now itís time for all parties involved to look at what went right, and what went wrong. Then itís time for solutions.

Casting blame wonít cut it, these are issues that must addressed sooner rather than later.

Early voting needs to be on the table. In Georgia, nearly a half million people took advantage of early voting. In the long run it saves money, aggravation and time.

South Carolinaís absentee voting is allowed only when a voter canít make it to the polls on election day. Itís not nearly as simple as walking into the elections office and casting your ballot.

Thereís been a big push in the state Legislature to stop what many say is rampant voter fraud in South Carolina Ė so much so that a voter ID requirement has been passed. (That bill doesnít have much teeth, however, since a voter only has to swear they could not obtain a state issued photo ID in order to vote.)

The jury is still out on how widespread voter fraud really is Ė it depends on who you ask.

But if ever there was an attempt to manipulate an election at the polls, forcing voters to choose whether to stand in line for hours who walking away would be clever strategy.

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