November 1, 2011 Commission Meeting Minutes

Pickens County Registration and Elections Commission

222 McDaniel St. B-9

Pickens, SC 29671

November 1, 2011

4:30 p.m.

Members Present: Mrs. June Bowers, Chairperson;
Mrs. Gretchen Campbell, Secretary;
Mr. Noel Anderson;
Mrs. Sheree Chapman;
Ms Geneva Robinson;
Mr. Herb Thompson
Staff Present: Mr. Rodney Allen, Executive Director; Mrs. Stacey Kitchens, Office Coordinator
Public Present: None
Members Absent: Ms. Jane Goolsby (excused)

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 it is to be noted that notices required by the Freedom of Information Act have been posted. An invocation was given by Mrs. Sheree Chapman.

Chairperson Bowers stated that the first item of business was approval of the minutes from the October 4, 2011 meeting of the Commission. Mrs. Sheree Chapman motioned to accept the minutes as presented from the previous meeting. Ms. Geneva Robinson seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

There was no public comment.

Director Allen then gave the Director’s report. Regarding the Presidential Preference Primary (PPP), there is a court case involving the counties of Beaufort, Chester, Greenville, and Spartanburg against the SC Republican Party, the SC Democratic Party, and the State Election Commission (SEC). At issue is the cost of the PPP and who will fund it. The SEC states that they have $680,000 to pay for the PPPs, with 150,000 having already been spent. It is estimated that it will cost $1.5 million dollars just to cover the cost of the poll workers for this election. It is hoped that resolution will be found before November 21, 2011, which is the deadline when notices must be posted in the newspaper. The SEC posted a listing of the reimbursable costs, which included all the costs that SCARE was concerned with. The SEC had stated that they had an agreement with the Republican Party as to what they would pay for; however they did not tell the counties that they did not have that the agreement was never signed. Mr. Chap Hurst, County Administrator, stated that the Pickens County Council will not be reconsidering their decision. County Council had previously voted that they would not pay out any money for the PPP until the county received money to cover those costs. Not all counties are taking the same stance as the counties involved with the lawsuit they have decided to conduct the PPP and pay the unreimbursable amount out of their county’s funds. Sen. Glen McConnell and Speaker of the House, Rep. Robert W. Harrell, Jr filed a motion of leave to intervene and memorandum of law in support of the motion, trying to use their positions to try and force an end to this matter.

Director Allen mentioned a post from Chris Whitmire from the SEC regarding the combining of polling places for the PPP. He stated that the state had budgeted a certain amount of money to cover the cost of poll managers and came up with a number for the amount of poll managers that could be used by each county. If the county went over this number, it would fall outside the budget, and would be the counties choice. Which is interpreted to mean the counties would have to pay for the extra poll managers used by not combining polling places. Essentially, the SEC is forcing counties to consolidate precincts.

Director Allen went on to state that Commissioner Stipend money should be in the mail. Commissioners should have received their stipends by September 30, 2011. The SEC has the funds, but have apparently not sent them out to counties as of yet. When Director Allen contacted Janet Reynolds at the SEC she informed him that they had not received a form that was necessary. The form was promptly sent and Director Allen was told “the check is in the mail.” As soon as the County Treasurer receives the funds, checks will be issued. Director Allen has been asked to check on it if the funds are not received in the county by the end of the week.

Director Allen continued discussion regarding reapportionment. The Pickens County Council reapportionment plan has been submitted to the DOJ and should be pre-cleared soon. The House plan was approved, but the DOJ still has not pre-cleared the Senate or Congressional lines. The Congressional plan was approved through Federal Court, an alternative to the DOJ. The Court has not pre-cleared the Senate Plan as of yet.

Regarding the SCARE conference to be held March 7-10, 2012, Director Allen is working to get permission for all Commissioners to attend. If anyone would like to purchase a T-shirt for the conference, they are being sold for $15 as a fund raiser. Chairperson Bowers will take care of securing a door prize for contribution to the conference.

Director Allen went on to comment on the audit done by the SEC after the November 2010 elections. This was done by an outside person who was unfamiliar with the machines. Director Allen and eight other county directors were asked to help, though their contribution was not well-received. The result is a poorly-worded report with misleading information. In the case of Pickens County it was noted only that several machines were not set with the correct date (some listed December instead of November) or time (a.m. and p.m. switched). It is also to be noted that this audit process began in January and the report was received November 1, 2011, and the counties have been asked to audit their own 2011 election before certification is done two days after the election.

Director Allen discussed Election Day roles of the Commissioners. Chairman Bowers and Vice-Chairman Robinson will count absentee ballots beginning at 9:00 a.m. on November 8, 2011. Other Commissioners will visit precincts regularly throughout the day, checking to see that the election is running smoothly. All available commissioners will need to be in the office at 6:30 p.m. to take care of collection and tally of data for pre-certification of the election.

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

Chairperson Bowers asked if there was any new business that needed to be addressed. Director Allen noted that the Skelton Career Center would not be available for the Skelton 127 precinct in January and February 2012. Director Allen has gotten permission from Tri-City Baptist Church to use their facility temporarily. Mr. Herb Thompson motioned to move the 127 Skelton precinct to Tri-City Baptist Church for the January and February, 2012 election cycle. Ms. Geneva Robinson seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Director Allen also stated that Precinct changes would be presented to the Commission at the January, 2012 meeting. What the Commission approves will pass as a recommendation to the County Delegation. It will be recommended the changes take effect July 1, 2012, which will begin a new budget year.

Finally, the Commission will meet December 6, 2011 at 12:00 noon for lunch at Gateway Restaurant in Pickens. Mr. Thompson expressed appreciation to the Commission for the gift designated for his great-granddaughter, given in memory of his grandson.
There being no further business, Chairperson Bowers adjourned the meeting.

Respectfully Submitted,
Gretchen Campbell, Secretary

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, November 10, 2011.