September 1, 2015 Meeting Minutes

Board of Voter Registration & Elections of Pickens County
222 McDaniel Ave B-9
Pickens, SC 29671
September 1, 2015

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

Staff Present:
Mr. Rodney Allen, Executive Director

Public Present:
Ms. Sarah McNeill, Clemson League of Women Voters


Vice Chairperson Sheree Chapman called the meeting to order with a welcomed those in attendance.

Herbert Thompson provided the Invocation.

Vice Chairman Sheree Chapman asked for a motion to be made to approve meeting minutes from August 4, 2015 Board of Voter Registration and Elections of Pickens County Meeting.  Board Member June Bowers made the motion to accept the minutes as they were presented.  Board Member Kathleen Hane seconded the motion. All in favor and with no discussion was passed unanimously.

Sara McNeill, of the Clemson League of Women Voters, spoke regarding Pickens County’s ability to conduct proper elections due to budget shortfalls and expressed that the League continues to be concerned about running full and fair elections. She also voiced the League’s support of the Director and his staff. Vice Chairperson Chapman thanked Ms. McNeill for attending the meeting.

Chairperson Chapman turned the meeting over to Director Allen for his report.

Director Allen announced that April Bagwell had a death in the family and would not be present. He asked board members to give thoughts and prayers to her and her family during this difficult time.

Mr. Allen gave an update on SEC Certification Training Classes. Chairperson Robinson and Office Coordinator April Bagwell completed a continuing education certification class on Absentee Registration and Balloting. Board Member Kathleen Hane needs one Core class and one Professional Development class. Board Member June Bowers needs one continuing education certification class prior to year-end. Mr. Allen will monitor class schedules as the SEC releases and will notify Board Members of the classes that fit in the classifications. He also reported that he and all other Board Members have completed their annual recertification requirements for 2015.

Director Allen updated the Board on the status of the Polling Place Assessments Project.  Fifty-eight of the sixty-one precinct inspections have been completed. Two visits remain pending: Rock Springs Baptist Church and Dacusville Community Center because of illness and the meetings had to be rescheduled. Two polling places failed key components. The Oolenoy Community Center parking lot was not paved and free of obstructions. The Oolenoy Baptist Church has been asked if they would be willing for us to use their facility across the street from the Oolenoy Community Center. Approval is pending for October. Secondly, Crosswell First Baptist ramps leading to only entrance are too steep. Director Allen is reviewing other potential locations.

Director Allen provided an update on the issues recently confronting the local Republican Party that was written in a newspaper article. Candidate filing fees included a 10% filing fee for offices filed for the 2012 Republican Primary. State Election Commission’s Chris Whitmire said he was not aware of anything that allows for any additional surcharges for filing fees. Director Allen was quoted in newspaper stating same and that the Pickens County Democratic Party did not charge such surcharges on their filing fees (based on their filing notice). The newspaper article indicates SLED is investigating this filing fee surcharge. Beginning March 2014, the Board’s office handles county candidate filing for partisan offices. The State Republic Party found no wrong doing with the 2015 Party Reorganization meeting in which many delegates allegedly were not allowed to vote at; however, the 2017 reorganization meeting will be conducted by the State Party according to the newspaper article.

Municipal Elections Update: Register to Vote, last day Saturday, October 31st; Election Day is Tuesday, November 3rd; Election Certification Date is Thursday, November 5th; Runoff Election Date is Tuesday, November 17th; Runoff Election Certification Date is November 19th, Candidate filing concluded Monday, August 3, 2015, Write-in candidate period ended Noon, August 17th, 2015; Ballot database preparation has begun. Municipal Election Poll Manager Training Classes are October 6th at 2pm and 6 pm and October 7th at 9am and 2pm. Make up class to be announced.

Municipal Cities Election Update:
Central: Town Council elected under 7-13-190(E); election cancelled.
Easley: Mayor, City Council Ward 1 and 3, and Combined Utilities Commissioner are unopposed and elected under 7-13-190(E) City Council Ward 5; 3 people filed for this        seat and Majority/Runoff Method will determine winner.
Liberty: City Council At Large and City Ward 3 unopposed and elected 7-3-190(E). City Council Ward 4 ( 2 people on ballot and one withdrew.) There is one write-in candidate and Majority/Runoff Method will determine winner.
Norris: Mayor unopposed and elected under 7-13-190(E); City Council: 2 people filed for 2 seats; one Write-in candidate and Majority/Runoff Method will determine winner.
Pickens: Mayor unopposed and elected under 7-13-190(E). City Council: 4 people filed for 3 seats and one person withdrew on August 17th. Majority/Runoff Method will determine winner.
Six Mile: Mayor unopposed and elected under 7-13-190(E). Town Council has 3 people filed for 2 seats; one person withdrew August 24th. Election must be held because requirements of 7-13-190(E) not met; more filed than seats to fill. Plurality Method will determine winners.

Director Allen stated that a 2-Factor Authentication for VREMS has been added to greatly enhance the safety of full and fair elections process.

Director Allen also presented a Year to Date Budget Report stating that the budget is tight, but he hopes to be able to make budget transfers to cover the consulting and contractual line item.

Old business: Board Member June Bowers thanked Director Allen for placing a copy of the Budget with our agenda and paperwork.

New business: Director Allen included a beautiful renovation and floor plan that is being planned for the Williamsburg County’s Registration and Elections Office Building. It was noted that Williamsburg County is one third the size of Pickens County.

Vice-Chair Chapman asked for a motion to adjourn. Ms. Bowers made the motion to adjourn.  Ms. Weeks seconded the motion. All in favor and with no discussion passed unanimously.

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