BRADENTON, Fla. — A week has passed since the Nov. 6 general election and the results still are not final in Richland County, S.C., home of Columbia, the state capital.
Some voters waited up to seven hours to vote while others gave up waiting for a voting booth.
Unofficially, just over 53% of voters who cast ballots approved a measure increasing the local sales tax by 1 cent to support various transportation projects. Some 52.4% voted in a second referendum question to authorize issuance of $450 million of general obligation bonds backed by the sales tax. It was the second-largest bond referendum in the Southeast.
But the long lines and allegations that elections officials failed to have the number of voting machines required by state law are among the protests backing legal challenges that are preventing election results from being certified.
The polling missteps, among others, led Joe McCulloch, who is believed to have lost his bid for a seat in the state House, to file a complaint with the circuit court.
In response, a circuit judge ordered certification of election results to stop, and for state officials to do a recount of ballots.
The state Supreme Court then stepped in and ordered the recount to stop. The high court was supposed to hold a hearing in the matter Tuesday, according to a Richland County spokeswoman.
"We're waiting for the Supreme Court to make a ruling so we don't have information about whether there will be a recount," the spokeswoman said. "There are so many things going on."
Once McCulloch's complaint is sorted out by the Supreme Court, the Richland County Elections Commission will deal with a separate legal challenge of the sales tax voting results.
On Monday, a group alleging that the election was purposely mismanaged called for results to be invalidated. The group included unsuccessful County Council candidate Michael Letts, several sitting council members, and the South Carolina Association of Taxpayers, according to published reports.
The 22-year sales tax is projected to finance more than $1 billion transportation projects, to be vetted by an oversight committee. While a list of specific projects has been developed, the county generally intends to spend $656 million on roadway improvements, $301 million on bus services, and $80.9 million on bike and pedestrian improvements as well as greenways.