HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - A majority of the issues and delays seen at voting precincts across Horry County Tuesday had to do with batteries dying in voting machines, according to election officials.
Sandy Martin, director of Horry County Voter Registration and Elections, said the machines are very old and she’s hoping by the next election they’ll have newer ones.
“The state is actually in the process of trying to find or pick a new system at this point,” said Martin. “Hopefully we’re looking forward to getting a new system next year if everything works out. It’s about the money.”
Martin said the machines they have now cost around $1,500 to $1,800 apiece. Statewide, she said it could cost millions of dollars for a new system.
Heavier staffing at precincts is also something Martin said the elections office wants to focus on in the future.
“I think we’re going to staff more in terms of curbside voters," she said.
Martin added there was a delay for people that might not be able to make it inside to vote, such as those with disabilities or elderly voters.
There was a longer-than-usual wait outside at the curb because the voting machines inside were being used by the voters in there. Martin said she’d like to get more poll workers and more machines to try and avoid that problem in the future.
“We’ve been asking for a long time now for new machines, and the state’s been pushing for a long time for new machines, but it’s just securing the money to purchase them,” said Martin, “You know this county’s growing so big we really need a lot more machines than we already have.”
Voters also ran into roadblocks regarding clothing choice at the polls. Discrepancies between the county elections office and the state caused some confusion on what the policy actually is.
“We’ve always been told that any kind of political material has never been allowed in the polling place and that’s what we’ve always went on,” said Martin.
The statute said in summary that a poll manager has to keep the area within 200 feet of a polling location clear of any political literature or campaign material.
“I’ve got a commissioner that’s an attorney that’s going to look into it and we’re going to seek some clarification from the state on that as well," said Martin.
Voter turnout, though, was still higher than usual. Martin said right now the voter turnout is just under 51 percent, which is an unusually high number for a midterm election.