May 26, 2015 Meeting Minutes

Board of Voter Registration & Elections of Pickens County
222 McDaniel Ave B-9
Pickens, SC 29671
May 26, 2015

Members Present:
Ms. Geneva Robinson, Chairperson
Ms. Sheree Chapman, Vice Chairperson
Mr. Herbert Thompson
Ms. Gretchen Campbell
Ms. June Bowers
Ms. Jane Weeks

Members Absent:
Kathleen Hane

Staff Present:
Rodney Allen, Executive Director

Public Present:
Representing the Clemson League of Women Voters-
Dr. Eleanor Hare
Dr. Bill Hare
Ms. Aleta Robinson
Ms. Francis Plotnik


Sheree Chapman called this special meeting with a welcome and Call to Order.

Herbert Thompson provided the Invocation.

Public Comment Period:
Dr. Eleanor Hare, representing the Clemson League of Woman Voters, spoke about the importance of public outreach and voter registration/photo identification drives, especially given the driving distance for some voters to get to our office. Dr. Hare thanked our staff for participating in the voter registration/photo identification drives at Clemson Downs and the Abel Baptist Church on June 1st.

Motion period for Old and New Business:

Old Business: Discussion of the draft letter to County Council regarding 2016 Fiscal Year Funding

Gretchen Campbell requested a recap on why this letter was drafted.

Director Allen stated there were 6 election days (4 countywide) in the 2016 Fiscal Year. With $25,000 funding for 2014 and 2015, $30,000 had been requested for 2016.   $17,500 was appropriated in the 2016 Fiscal Year Budget that received for the first and second reading. This is a cut in funding by 30% and is 42% less than what was requested for 2016. Councilman Crenshaw was contacted by email and regular mail, as was Senator Larry Martin and Marci Andino of the State Election Commission.

It was also stated that there is a new law whereby the State Election Commission is required to step in and supervise elections if a County cannot. Also, due to same law, Board Members can no longer volunteer to complete office tasks.

The County is fully reimbursed for conducting municipal elections, including temporary employee pay and overtime spent. The State does not reimburse for temporary employee pay or overtime.

It was also reported to the Board that Dr. Eleanor Hare and Ralph Guarino had been in conversation by email as to why this funding request had been reduced.

Due to Pickens County having the smallest number of fulltime staff compared to registered voters in the state provided even more reasons to address this request. In 2012 Mr. Allen was working 60 – 80 hours each week for four to five weeks prior to each election. His physician provided a letter to Commissioner June Bowers stating that he could suffer severe health risks if continued to work that many hours. At that time the County Administrator was contacted and arrangements were made to reduce his hours. Temporary budget was subsequently bumped to the $25,000 a year.

Mr. Allen continues to work long hours to get the job done. Not a healthy situation. The Board warned the Director not to try to supplement the office staff and work only normal operating hours.

Gretchen Campbell drafted an additional paragraph that added a few more details on “why” we were submitting this letter along with a conclusion that stated that legal liabilities for the County if our temporary budget did not allow us the manpower necessary to complete critical tasks prior to an election.

The Board discussed liabilities that could put the County in a very precarious position legally if full and fair elections did not result.

June Bowers made a motion to copy the letter to the Governor, State Delegation, and the State Election Commission. Gretchen Campbell seconded the motion. All voted in favor.

With no new business, Sheree Chapman made a motion to adjourn. Herb Thompson Seconded the motion. All voted in favor.

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