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‘Check your ballot:’ York County election machine snafu reported that changed vote

York County voters turn out in record numbers for early, absentee voting

Voters turned out by the hundreds at the York County Board of Registration and Elections days before Nov. 6, according to elections officials. Voters who were planning to be out of town Tuesday and others who were expected to work voted early.
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Voters turned out by the hundreds at the York County Board of Registration and Elections days before Nov. 6, according to elections officials. Voters who were planning to be out of town Tuesday and others who were expected to work voted early.

A Lake Wylie voter said her voting machine changed her congressional vote six times before she was able to cast her vote for Democrat Archie Parnell.

Angelique McGowan, who voted at the Redeeming Grace Church polling place at 4800 Charlotte Highway in Lake Wylie, said her voting machine changed her congressional candidate choice from Parnell to Rep. Ralph Norman (R-Rock Hill) six times.

After three times, she called over a poll worker, who watched her select Parnell another three times. But the machine changed her choice to Norman when she moved on to the Clover school board candidate selection each time.

McGowan said the poll workers moved her to another voting machine, and closed that machine for recalibration.

“But 72 people voted before me (on that machine),” McGowan said.

Beth Covington with the York County Board of Voter Registration and Elections said the problem had been reported to the elections board and a technician had been sent to the Lake Wylie precinct.

Covington said the problem may have been a calibration issue with the machine.

“We encourage folks, to please review your ballots for the final confirmation,” Covington said.

York County elections director Wanda Hemphill said another voting machine complaint was reported at the New Home AME Zion Church precinct at 3290 Charlotte Highway. She said that machine had also been taken out of use until a technician could find the issue.

McGowan said the voting machine in Lake Wylie only changed her vote when she voted for the Democratic candidate. She said she chose Norman as a test, and the voting machine didn’t change her vote.

“I’ve been voting since I was 18 years old, back in the 1970s, and I was taught early on to check my ballot,” she said. “And I think that’s a great message to get out to people, to never take things for granted.”

McGowan was able to vote for Parnell on a different machine at the precinct. She said she always votes Democratic, but said she feels it’s more important than ever to cast a vote.

“It is such a privilege to be able to vote in this country,” McGowan said.

A record number of South Carolinians in a midterm election were already cast by absentee ballot. There were 298,356 absentee ballots issued statewide as of 8 a.m. Tuesday, an almost 82 percent increase from 164,802 issued absentee ballots in 2014.

Polling sites are open until 7 p.m. Tuesday. Find your precinct here and contact your county elections office with any questions or problems.

The State in Columbia also reported machine problems “mismarking the vote” at some Richland County precincts because of calibration issues with the aging touch-screen machines.

Hannah Smoot: 803-329-4068, @hgsmoot

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