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Seriously, South Carolina?

November 10, 2012

You have to hand it to the South Carolina GOP: they may not like their Democratic opponents, but they can learn from them. For those of you who may have missed it, the South Carolina Democratic primary for Senate resulted in Alvin Greene, an unknown who had barely mounted a campaign, being nominated. How could this happen? Simple: his name was first on the ballot.

In response, South Carolina, which had listed the Green Party candidate first in 2008, re-ordered the 2012 ballot to show Republican Mitt Romney first, followed by Libertarian Gary Johnson, then Barack Obama. This effort was orchestrated by Republican Secretary of State Mark Hammond, with the obvious goal of garnering additional votes from the apparently uninformed electorate.

This was only the first step, however. Knowing that more informed voters would still show up to the polls, the Republicans failed to provide the necessary voting machines to some of the more Democratic districts of the state, resulting in lines of 7+ hours to vote. As a result, a circuit court judge ordered a recount of votes in Democratic Richland County. These efforts were halted shortly after they began, however, as the conservative state Supreme Court ruled in favor of a Republican motion to declare the results fair.

I should note that there is no hard evidence to support a charge of an orchestrated effort to gain Republican votes and suppress Democratic ones, and that these events could be unfortunate coincidences. Given the number of voter-suppression campaigns mounted by the Republican party prior to the election, however, I have no choice to assume that this is more of the same. I suppose at this point we should expect nothing less from South Carolina.

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From → Opinion

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