August 2 Commission Meeting Minutes

Pickens County Registration and Elections Commission
222 McDaniel St. B-9
Pickens, SC 29671

August 2, 2011
4:30 p.m.

Members Present: Mrs. June Bowers, Chairperson;
Ms. Geneva Robinson, Vice-Chairperson
Mr. Noel Anderson;
Mrs. Sheree Chapman;
Mr. Herb Thompson
Staff Present: Mr. Rodney Allen, Executive Director;
Mrs. Stacey Kitchens, Office Coordinator
Public Present:  Dr. Eleanor Hare, League or Women Voters;
Mr. William Hare
Members Absent: Ms. Jane Goolsby (excused);
Mrs. Gretchen Campbell, Secretary (excused)

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THE MEETING OF THE PICKENS COUNTY REGISTRATION AND ELECTIONS COMMISSION WAS HELD PURSUANT TO THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT AND ALL REQUIRED NOTIFICATIONS WERE MADE.

Chairperson Bowers called the meeting of the Pickens County Registration and Elections Commission to order at 4:30 p.m. and asked if all notices of the meeting were posted as required by the Freedom of Information Act. Director Allen replied that the notices had been posted. An invocation was delivered by Ms. Geneva Robinson.

Chairperson Bowers stated that the first item of business was approval of the minutes from the July 5, 2011 meeting of the Commission. Mrs. Chapman motioned to accept the minutes from the previous meeting. Ms. Robinson seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

The meeting was then opened to public comment. There was none.

Director Allen then gave his director’s report. Director Allen presented an overview of the 2011 Municipal Elections for the cities of Central, Easley, Liberty, Norris, Pickens, and Six Mile. He stated that candidate filing would open at Noon on August 18th and close at Noon on September 1st, 2011. Director Allen also informed the Commission that in addition to the seats already up for election in the City of Liberty, the office of Mayor would be added due to the resignation of current Mayor Brian Deese. He also reminded the commission of the law that states if the same number of candidates file as seats to fill and no one files as a write-in candidate within 14-days after filing closes, then there will be no election for that office.

Director Allen also addressed the upcoming Presidential Preference Primaries (PPPs). As it stands at the moment, the dates seem to be February 18 or 25 for the Republicans and February 28 for the Democrats. If the Republicans choose the 25th, that would only give offices 3 days to prepare for the Democratic Primary. This is not enough time to prepare for a countywide election. Executive Director Marci Andino of the State Election Commission (SEC) has been talking to the parties to set a date, but has not included any of the county directors in the talks. SCARE (South Carolina Association of Registration and Election Officials) will speak with Director Andino to try and persuade her to ask the parties to either pick the same date or dates that are at least 2-weeks apart. If that doesn’t work, they will consider speaking with state representatives to obtain their help. The Commission expressed concerns over who would be paying for these primaries and Director Allen stated that if the primaries were held on the same day, the SEC would have the funds to cover only half of the costs and it is unclear who would pick up the remainder of the cost. Chairperson Bowers suggested that the Commission compose a letter to our local delegation making them aware of the situation and possibly obtaining help from them to get the parties to either chose the same date or dates far enough apart to allow the office to properly prepare for the second election. Chairperson Bowers called for a motion; Ms. Robinson made the motion and Mr. Anderson seconded. The motion passed unanimously.

Director Allen informed the commission of several changes that had taken place at the SEC including Deputy Executive Director Donna Royson who retired, Supervisor of Voter Services Cheryl Goodwin and Public Information Director Garry Baum who both went to work for the Richland County Board of Elections and Voter Registration, Ken Pike from the mail room retired, and Megan Stout will be leaving to pursue other opportunities. Chairperson Bowers asked if Mr. Baum would be available to answer any legal questions now that he is working for Richland Co. and Director Allen said he was unsure. The question was asked if those positions had been filled and Director Allen said he was not sure if they had even been posted yet. Chairperson Bowers stated that our office should continue to conduct our elections to the best of our abilities and keep our records open to the public.

Chairperson Bowers asked if there was any old business that needed to be mentioned. There was none.

Chairperson Bowers asked if there was any new business that needed to be mentioned.

Director Allen stated in light of the changes at the SEC, he has been looking into an outside source to do the coding for our elections. He stated that the office had spoken with PrintElect, a subsidiary of ES&S to inquire on how much they charged for coding. Their price was close to $5,000 just for one election. Director Allen also spoke with Patrick Lee, who is the Deputy Director of Charleston County. Mr. Lee does database coding as a side job and has given the office a quote of $3,500 to code all of the elections held in the 2011-2012 fiscal year. Director Allen stated that in November of 2010, even with the top coder still in place, the databases we received from the SEC were late and riddle with many errors, and that it took many late nights and many revisions to obtain a final correct database that would work. Chairperson Bowers called for a motion to accept the contract from Mr. Lee to code our elections. Mr. Anderson made the motion and Mrs. Chapman seconded, the motion passed unanimously.

Chairperson Bowers mentioned she thought it would be a good idea to write letters to County Administrator Chap Hurst and to Finance Director Ralph Guarino thanking them for their help with this office. She called for a motion to approve the writing of these letters. Mr. Thompson made the motion and Ms. Robinson seconded, the motion passed unanimously.

There being no further business, Chairperson Bowers asked for a motion to adjourn at 5:05 p.m. Ms. Robinson made the motion to adjourn and Mrs. Chapman seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously and the meeting was adjourned.

Respectfully submitted,
Mrs. Stacey Kitchens, Office Coordinator

You may download a printable copy of the minutes by clicking the download button below:

The above minutes were approved in the regular monthly Commission Meeting held Tuesday, September 6, 2011.