SLED launches investigation in to Richland County Elections Board

The State Law Enforcment Division has launched an investigation into the Richland County Election Commissions office.

COLUMBIA (WACH) -- The State Law Enforcment Division has launched an investigation into the Richland County Election Commissions office.

SLED spokesperson Thom Berry said Fifith Circuit solcitor Dan Johnson sent a letter requesting an investigation into the election board.

Berry tells WACH Fox that SLED was looking into the elections office and launched a full investigation after meeting with former elecctions director Howard Jackson.

In Feburary Jackson was voted out 4-1 by the Elections Commission Board.

The following day Jackson telling members of the media that since taking office, there has been a power struggle with the board and ultimately led to his termination.

The former elections Director said he was given unlawful and unethical orders by board members and met with the State Law Enforcement Division on several occassions to hand over evidence and key documents.

Jackson said his decision to fire former deputy director Gary Baum met resistance from board members and he was even told it would be a " bad political move", because Baum is the brother-in-law of a state senator.

The former Elections Director said on several occasions he tried to report problems with the deputy director and he was told to stand down.

Jackson even pointing to an instance where he says the deputy director would unplug voting machines and the machines would power down during elections.

"This county deserves to have an experienced deputy director of elections not someone off the street," adds Jackson.

This news coming the same day WACH Fox learned the Richland County Elections Commission has split into two offices and former elections director Lillian McBride is the new leader of the county voter registration board.

Interim Elections director Samuel Selph tells WACH Fox the process to separate the two offices has been an ongoing process and it was finalized on Monday.

Selph said he has submitted a letter informing Richland County Elections Commission Chairman Allen Dowdy, Judge Thomas Cooper and Richland County Delegation Chair Joe Neal that boards have officially split.

This will be McBrideâ??s second run as director of the voter registration board, she previously led the voter registration office before being promoted to elections director.

McBride resigned as elections director after a botched election in November of 2012 that left voters waiting in line for more than eight hours, votes not being counted and ballots misplaced.