Voters surprised by closures

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AIKEN --- The Aiken County Registration and Elections Commission voted Monday night to suspend absentee voting in three satellite locations across the county pending further review.

About 30 residents attended the special meeting to voice their anger about a last-minute change of location for absentee voters and to find out why it occurred.

Absentee voting was scheduled to begin Monday morning at Kalmia Mall on Richland Avenue, but Stuart Bedenbaugh, the executive director of the county Voter Registration and Elections office, said that the elections commission decided about 9 p.m. Sunday to move voting to the elections office on Vaucluse Road, with no warning to voters.

"We had a challenge from someone who said we would be outside the law" if the county allowed absentee voting outside the elections office, said Kevin Bumpus, the chairman of the county elections commission.

According to the elections office, a line of about 200 voters, eager to cast their absentee ballots, snaked outside the elections office.

Arlene Childs, of North Augusta, was among them. She had driven to Kalmia Mall, only to be told that the location had been moved to the elections office in Aiken. She said she was not happy about the extra driving.

County Attorney Jim Holly said he spent the weekend reviewing the state statutes on absentee voting and found no mention of changes in location, leading him to assume that it was left out intentionally. "I'm not going to advise this council or any other board to possibly go outside the law," he said.

Residents who attended the meeting urged the commission to hold off on a decision until more information could be obtained from the state.

"If you've made up your mind, I hope you would reconsider," said state Rep. Bill Clyburn. "My concern is over a month we've been told we would have satellite offices."

The county elections commission had already received permission from the State Elections Commission to provide satellite locations for voters with absentee ballots.

The 11th-hour challenge came late Friday night from Columbia attorney Todd Kincannon, who attended Monday's meeting.

Facing an unfriendly crowd who voiced their feelings about someone from outside the county being behind the morning voting confusion, Mr. Kincannon tried to explain why he brought up the issue.

"I do not want to run the risk of disenfranchising anybody's vote," he said.

Mr. Kincannon argued that the state statute on absentee voting says that local election commissions can change the hours and the dates for absentee voting, not the location, opening up the possibility that if someone were to go to court to challenge absentee votes cast in a satellite office the court would throw those votes out.

Mr. Bumpus said the commission will spend the next few days making calls to different agencies in Columbia, "looking for an avenue to get a decision as quick as possible" about satellite locations for absentee voting.

Staff Photographer Annette Drowlette contributed to this story.

Reach Michelle Guffey at (803) 648-1395, ext. 110, or michelle.guffey@augustachronicle.com.

AIKEN COUNTY ABSENTEE VOTING

WHERE: Voter Registration and Elections Office, 916 Vaucluse Road, Aiken


WEEKDAY HOURS: Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.


WEEKEND HOURS: Sunday, 1:30-4:30 p.m.; Saturday, Oct. 25, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Saturday, Nov. 1, 9 a.m. to noon

Comments (22) Add comment
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rahsheedleetawanmoumood
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rahsheedleetawanmoumood 10/14/08 - 07:22 am
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Look who is

Look who is protesting---imagine that!

truthteller
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truthteller 10/14/08 - 07:57 am
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So who is this Todd Kincannon

So who is this Todd Kincannon who does not want to disenfranchise anybody's vote? Do a search on Google and you will find he is a lawyer who received the 2008 Palmetto Elephant Award, given “for overwhelming generosity and hours of tireless service to the South Carolina Republican Party” in connection with his work as parliamentarian and attorney for the party. Mr. Kincannon was also appointed by South Carolina House Speaker Bobby Harrell to serve a third term as Parliamentarian of the South Carolina Republican Convention. Mr. Kincannon's concern sounds like it's part of a coordinated Republican effort to suppress voter turnout in Aiken County. Let's blow the whistle on these clowns real fast.

Spurs07
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Spurs07 10/14/08 - 08:17 am
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It is already starting. All

It is already starting. All of this confusing could have easily been handled if the ramifications of the law were enforced a month ago. Now we know what they are trying to do. There are a lot of people who are going to be angry and upset over the results of this election and it seems that History may very well be made and there are ones trying to deter CHANGE

GR-10
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GR-10 10/14/08 - 08:30 am
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Todd Kincannon can be found

Todd Kincannon can be found on the website "find a Republican Lawyer".

http://www.rnla.org/bio/FindALawyer.asp?Alpha=&State=SC

halffull
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halffull 10/14/08 - 08:52 am
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Great job truthteller! Maybe

Great job truthteller! Maybe the information you revealed should have been included in the article.

Malcolm Little
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Malcolm Little 10/14/08 - 09:25 am
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Apparently KinCannon's got

Apparently KinCannon's got enough credibility with the Commission to thwart the intentions of those who sought and got approval for the satellite sites. I suggest that all those voters who are effected by his ability to undermine the electorate make arrangements to be where you can vote, when you can vote so you can vote. Let's not sit around acting like this offense will keep us from getting to the polls. Make arrangements now so that your voice will be heard. It's obvious Satan runs amuck in the Bible Belt and its obvious there is still deep-seated hatred against those who would express their love of freedom despite South Carolina's slavery heritage.

rahsheedleetawanmoumood
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rahsheedleetawanmoumood 10/14/08 - 09:47 am
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The democrat mantra---vote

The democrat mantra---vote early, vote often!!!

DMac_357
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DMac_357 10/14/08 - 09:48 am
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Why wait until Friday evening

Why wait until Friday evening to file your protest , at the 11th hour, when voters have been told for a month that there would be satellite offices? You would hope that the County Elections Commission and the State Elections Commision would know what they were doing when they approved the measure. If Kincannon doesn't even live in the county, what is his standing to bring the challenge?

mcm
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mcm 10/14/08 - 10:05 am
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If a change is supposed to

If a change is supposed to take place, why not allow it to happen honestly, instead of cheating with the help of organizations like Acorn? Funny how the democratic stations like CNN never even report about Acorn and the voter fraud going on in 13 states. Acorn, an organization that Barack Obama has been a lawyer for and has recently given money to.

Malcolm Little
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Malcolm Little 10/14/08 - 10:21 am
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Hmm, Hey Reverend! Maybe

Hmm, Hey Reverend! Maybe Sunday Services should be held at the Commission's Office so folks don't have far to travel to vote after prayer!

You can also find Todd at "Find A Republican Liar.com"

VOTE! VOTE! VOTE!

katalyst
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katalyst 10/14/08 - 11:07 am
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mcm, perhaps you should do a

mcm, perhaps you should do a little research before making a post. No one is cheating, and CNN has covered Acorn on numerous occasions, in fact, here's a link: http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2008/10/13/palin-we-cant-let-leftis...

Here is another link to a video of John McCain at an Acorn rally in 2006: http://marcambinder.theatlantic.com/archives/2008/10/a_lifetime_ago_sen_...

If they are so horrible, then why did President Bush and House Republicans give them money to find homes for Katrina victims, and why is John McCain at their rally?

Just because you see it on Fox News or hear it on right-wing radio does not make it true. Do a little Google research before jumping to conclusions next time.

And to everyone else, if you want to solve this problem, then vote. That is what they are trying to stop you from doing, and that is exactly what you need to do to change things. If you can't get to the polls, then call someone. There are plenty of organizations that will give you a ride to the polls regardless of your political affiliation. VOTE! VOTE! VOTE!

AGR354
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AGR354 10/14/08 - 11:24 am
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get rid of absentee voting

get rid of absentee voting altogether, it is abused and creates to many opportunitites for fraud

rahsheedleetowanmoumood
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rahsheedleetowanmoumood 10/14/08 - 02:39 pm
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354, you are dead right.

354, you are dead right. Only absenteed bnallots should be for citizens working in a foreign country!

whitescorpion
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whitescorpion 10/14/08 - 03:23 pm
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Absentee voting does create

Absentee voting does create opportunities for fraud... it has been proven over and over again. I think absentee voting should be reserved for those that are "abscent," (military etc.)

whitescorpion
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whitescorpion 10/14/08 - 03:26 pm
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katalyst, research is always

katalyst, research is always a good idea before posting but I don't know that I would use the "Google" search engine considering how much Google contributes to the "slimey" liberal machine.

disssman
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disssman 10/14/08 - 06:18 pm
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AGR and Rasheed and Seven you

AGR and Rasheed and Seven you are all absolutely correct. These D--- soldiers on temporary duty or at training locations, shouldn't be allowed to vote! I guess that would go for people in the hospital, out of town for a funeral, attending training for their job and on and on. What right do they have to vote if they aren't right here at the voting booth. In fact I think people should line up and have to vote at one booth. Boy that would cutout the fraud. We could have a gauntlet of lawyers fron both partys screening people and only those that pass the gauntlet would be allowed to vote. Man we could save money and insure compliance, I vote for all three of you guys for director of elections!

disssman
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disssman 10/14/08 - 06:27 pm
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Boy it looks like we have

Boy it looks like we have more laws with ways to throw out ballots than we have that says you can vote. I guess this is what they mean when people say "We are a country based on law"!

MaryPlayer
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MaryPlayer 10/14/08 - 07:13 pm
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dizzzyman get a grip, they

dizzzyman get a grip, they voted, they voted, and they voted only at a different location. Bet your song and dance would be different if the voting was allowed to happen at the satellite sites, then thrown out because it was against the Board of Election by-laws. Dang I'm so sick and tired of politics and arm chair lawyers I could regurgitate a demoncrat being squashed by the elephant. Ya'll whiners act like the people were told to go home without being allowed to vote. And as far as the person driving ALL THE WAY

MaryPlayer
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MaryPlayer 10/14/08 - 07:14 pm
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CONT. from North Augusta my,

CONT. from North Augusta my, my, my the little trip you took from Kalmia Hills to the Voter Registration office put you closer to home. Whine, whine, whine.

2tired2argueanymore
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2tired2argueanymore 10/15/08 - 08:12 am
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How do you have that many

How do you have that many absentee voters? All of these people have legitimate reasons that they cannot vote during the normal voting time periods or even during the ealry voting time frame? Or is this another one of those ACORN deals and these people are going to vote again in the regular time frame? Are the Democrats that un secure in their choice that they constantly have to resort to cheating to get their guy elected? It is bad enough that they have bashed Sarah Palin like a pinata and ignore Baracks shady racial past.

stillcool47
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stillcool47 10/15/08 - 11:18 am
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Let's make it as hard as

Let's make it as hard as possible for anyone to vote. I think we should only let white Republican males, with significant property ownership (no mortgaged property) over the age of 40 vote in any election. Let's take this country back to the pre 1860 days. Who needs Democracy anyway? I'm sure there are many posting here that will be thrilled with the idea. We can all be slaves this time around. It will be fun!

426Hemi
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426Hemi 10/17/08 - 08:46 am
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All dimocraps vote

All dimocraps vote "absenteeism:" of the brain...Obama bin dickwad is catering to all you freeloaders with your shirttails held out for MY hard earned money. Stick your hand out, and I'll chop it off!

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