January 15, 2013 Meeting Minutes

Location of Meeting:
Office of the Pickens County
Registration & Elections Commission
222 McDaniel Ave. B-9
Pickens, SC 29671

Members Present:
Ms. June Bowers, Chairperson
Ms. Geneva Robinson, Vice-Chairperson
Ms. Sheree Chapman, Secretary
Mr. Noel Anderson
Ms. Gretchen Campbell
Ms. Jane Goolsby
Mr. Herb Thompson

Staff Present:
Mr. Rodney Allen, Executive Director
Ms. April Bagwell, Office Coordinator

Public Present:
Ms. Aleta Robinson
Ms. Frances Plotnik


Chairperson Bowers called the meeting of the Pickens county Registration and Election Commission to order at 4:30pm and welcomed everyone. Ms. Bowers said a special thanks to Director Allen and everyone for a successful and wonderful year.

Mr. Herb Thompson gave the invocation.

Chairperson Bowers asked for the approval of meeting minutes from October 2, 2012 and November 9, 2012. Ms. Robinson moved to accept minutes as presented. Mr. Thompson seconded the motion and with no discussion was passed unanimously.

Chairperson Bowers open the floor for public comment:

  • Ms. Aleta Robinson with the League of Women Voters was present because she wanted to see how the Registration and Election Commission meetings operate. Ms. Robinson explained that she had worked as a poll manager during the 2012 General Election.  She also talked about how wonderful everything at the polls went on the day of the Election.  Ms. Robinson questioned why an election worker’s title of poll clerk or poll manager is named as such because she feels the actual roles are reverse. Chairperson Bowers answered they are set by the state and not by the Commission.

Chairperson Bowers thanked the ladies from the League of Women Voters for coming and asked them to please come back anytime.

Chairperson Bowers turned meeting over to Director Allen for his report. Director Allen thanked Madam Chairperson and everyone for being here. Director Allen stated “what a year for elections: funding lawsuits, January Republican presidential preference primary, March candidate filings, lawsuits to remove candidates from the ballots, June primaries & runoffs, and July’s verification of thousands of petition signatures, special elections, the addition of nine new precincts, and the mailing of new cards to voters.”  Also, ninety-five brand new laptop computers given to the Pickens County Registration and Election Commission by the State Election Commission are ours to keep.  Chairperson Bowers chimed in that it was due to Director Allen’s excellent management.

Director Allen stated how the November 2012 Election went very smoothly. There were no long lines with only about fifteen to twenty minute wait times reported in our county.  However, while forty-five counties did well, one did not. Neighboring counties reported wait times of 2-3 hours.  Richland County had reported wait times as long as eight hours. Mr. Allen credits Pickens County’s success was due to the poll manager training, the addition of nine new precincts, and receiving EVRL laptop computers from the SEC.

Director Allen stated the budget has taken a beating due to a year with so many unexpected costs:  temporary staff pay to validate all the petitions, requirement to pay full first-class postage for countywide mailing of new voter cards, and equipment repair. Chairperson Bowers asked if Senator Martin had been notified about the office’s non-profit status with postal service. Director Allen replied no, but that the County’s attorney had looked into it for us and had no luck with it. Director Allen stated he had spoken with Mr. Hurst about the budget issues and he said that the office is okay.  Areas where we have gone over the budget will be addressed by County Council at the end of the fiscal year.

Director Allen discussed the Calendar of Events and Meetings of all upcoming elections and certification meetings.

Director Allen stated overall the General Election went well; however, not for Richland County.  Due to issues that single county had, there are two proposed bills in the State Legislature designed to radically change elections in our state. One bill would move the State Election Commission and County Election Commissions under the elected Office of Secretary of State. The other bill would move the County Election Commission under the authority of the State Election Commission.  Director Allen stated both of these would be detrimental to the election process.

Director Allen stated there was another bill being looked at due to the reaction of what took place last year with candidate filing. This bill would move candidate filing from parties to the County Election Commissions. That both incumbents and challengers would file their paper copies of the State of Economic Interest Ethics forms and the Statement of Intention of Candidacy with the Registration and Elections office.

Director Allen discussed the new Voter ID Bill, which took effect January 1st.  The five forms of identification that are acceptable in order to be able to vote on a machine at the polls are:

  • SC Driver’s License
  • SC DMV ID Card
  • SC Voter Registration Card with Photo
  • Federal Military ID
  • United States Passport

Due to the new Voter ID Law, Pickens County is required to hold two public seminars. These are scheduled for February 5, 2013 from 10:00am-Noon, and February 7, 2013 from 6pm-8pm. During these seminars we will have the computer and camera available for anyone who would like to have their picture taken for the issuing of a Voter Registration Card with photo.  If a voter has their registration card but does not have a photo id on the day of an election, they may vote a provisional ballot if they have a reasonable impediment.  The voter will have to sign an affidavit stating the reason why they could not obtain a photo ID.  Their vote will be counted unless the county elections commission has reason to believe the affidavit to be false. If a voter does not have an ID and votes a provisional ballot without a reasonable impediment, they would need to show their ID to the Commission before or at the provisional ballot hearing in order for their vote to be counted.

Director Allen turned meeting back over to Chairperson Bowers.

Chairperson Bowers said thank you again to Director Allen for all that he has done to keep our county in order.

Chairperson Bowers opened the floor for nominating the new Chairperson for the Pickens County Registration and Elections Commission. Mr. Thompson made motion to nominate Ms. Gretchen Campbell for Chairperson. Ms. Robinson seconded the motion; all were in favor, and with no discussion passed unanimously.

Chairperson Bowers asked for a motion for nominating a new Vice-chairperson. Ms. Chapman made motion to nominate Ms. Geneva Robinson for Vice-chairperson. Mr. Thompson seconded the motion; all were in favor, and with no discussion passed unanimously.

Chairperson Bowers asked for a motion for nominating a new Secretary. Ms. Goolsby made motion to nominate Ms. Sheree Chapman for Secretary. Mr. Thompson seconded the motion, all in favor, and with no discussion passed unanimously.

Chairperson Bowers asked if there were any old business or any new business. There was none.

Chairperson Bowers asked for a motion to move into executive session to conduct the Director’s annual performance evaluation. Ms. Campbell made motion to move into executive session. Ms. Chapman seconded the motion, all in favor, and with no discussion passed unanimously.

Executive Session to Discuss a Personnel Issue:  No minutes or votes taken

The Commission came out of Executive Session.  Move to adjourn made by Ms. Campbell and seconded by Ms. Chapman.  With all in favor and with no discussion passed unanimously.

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