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Pros & Cons of Representative James Smith's Election Reform Bill

Lets do thisRep James Smith prefiled legislation designed to ensure that the Richland County election breakdown NEVER happens again. It sets minimum standards and establishes training on how to run an election responsibly. However it continues the practice of using the legislative delegation to oversee County's Board of Election and Voter Registration.

Overall the McBride Bill, H-3198, adds a few key requirements

  • Adds greater oversight to the Executive Director of the State Election Commission
  • Allows State Election Commission to establish clear qualifications and training for Election Directors
  • Cleans up wording on who will appoint election commissioners

First minimum qualifications and training are positive change. This will those that have no experience in running elections making key errors due to ignorance of the law and inexperience. McBride just rubber-stamped a error that left hundreds of voting machines in a warehouse causing up to 6 hr waiting times.

The State Executive Director will be required to be "consulted" about evaluation, hiring and pay of the county head of elections. Not sure what consulted means. Posed that as a follow up question to Rep. Smith.

What I don't like is that the County Legislative Delegation, NOT the county council, will be able to appoint the members of the County Election Commission. I'm a small government guy. This task should be performed by the county council. These are elected officials that should control county specific matters. This is a continued encroachment on home rule in this writers opinion.

Richland County Legislative Delegation approved McBride with NO qualifications running an election. They appointed the Election Commission that failed to provide oversight. They will never be able to provide as much attention as County Council to local County matters. Nor should they. Our legislators require full time attention representing out interests on state wide issues.

This is no change though, just a continuation of what is already in place. I would hate to see the positive aspects of the bill derailed by the portrayed stripping of state legislature power. This is part of a larger culture that has to be remedied in SC.

This is a great jumping off point for Election Reform. Its something that is measured and passable even with the limited functionality of legislature.

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