Editorial: Now's the time to look closely at election issues
For all the potential complications with the election last week, things ran somewhat smoothly; however the election also raised a few concerns.
Members of the Aiken County Legislative delegation made an effort to address some of the concerns quickly. Rep. Bill Hixon addressed the problem of some voters in a couple of North Augusta precincts not getting the correct ballot. A few people called The Star to say they lived in the City but weren't allowed to vote on the local question regarding alcohol sales on Sunday, and when they asked about it they were told everything from, "Gee, that's too bad" to "Oh, that's to be voted on later. It's not on this ballot."
Both of those responses are certainly unacceptable, and the delegation is smart to look into the issue. On the surface, it sounds like the poll workers were not as well-trained as they might have been.
Aiken County Registration and Elections Executive Director Cynthia Holland has denied responsibility for many of the problems that have surfaced. Since she is a hiree of the delegation and not Aiken County, it is incumbent upon members of the delegation to look closely at where the problems lie. It was Holland's first general election since she took the position as executive director, so it may be simply a matter of the learning curve that comes from being in the "line of fire" with the most complicated election she's likely to ever face.
At the same time, some of the problems were the result of too few voting machines, something she has tried to remedy. So far, the Aiken County Council has denied her request for 10 additional machines and for four machines approved by the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Granted, the problem of long lines is not likely to resurface for at least two years, but Aiken County Council must look at the situation seriously before it happens again. Are the headaches worth the $31,000 it would take to fix them.
It's time now for all concerned - the individual parties, the delegation and Aiken County Council - to look at the election and ascertain what can be done to make the next one go more smoothly.
And while the delegation is considering its responsibilities in future elections, perhaps the members can revisit the question of early voting.
In South Carolina voters must justify why they want to vote absentee. There is no "early voting" of the type available in Georgia. If more people were allowed to vote early, the concern regarding long lines at the polls might be solved.