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      State officials detail voter protection plans

      U.S. Attorney Bill Nettles

      COLUMBIA (WACH) -- It can be three of the most influential minutes you spend come election time. The three minutes you are allowed in a voting booth can make all the difference and you want to make sure it counts.

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      "The right to vote is fundamental to democracy. It's the cornerstone of democracy," said U.S. Attorney Bill Nettles during a Monday news conference.

      Flanked by election officials, the FBI and SLED, South Carolina's top federal prosecutor detailed plans to deal with voter abuse during the November 2 election.

      "If you want to counter it you have to be prepared to be ready to move on election day when it happens," said Nettles.

      Because some of the races could be hotly contested, Nettles and other officials are anticipating potential problems at the ballot box that could impact the voting process, things like intimidation, people deliberately holding up lines, or being denied the chance to cast a ballot. But, there are ways to make sure every vote counts.

      "If someone is being denied the right to vote the most expeditious think to do is to request a challenge ballot," said Nettles. "That ballot then gets put in an envelope and if the election is close it gets counted."

      If you are concerned your rights are violated when you head to ballot box in two weeks or anytime, the U.S. Attorney's office encourages voters to report their concerns. People can call their county election office, individual party offices and even the attorney general's office.

      For more on South Carolina voting, visit SCVotes.org.