Vic Rawl, the former judge and legislator from Charleston who lost by nearly 20 percentage points to Alvin Greene, the unemployed military veteran who didn’t campaign, wants a recount in South Carolina’s Democratic primary for U.S. Senate.  The Post and Courier reports that state Sen. Phil Leventis sent a letter to the state election commission asking that the voting machines used for the election be impounded and an audit conducted.

Rawl claimed at a news conference that voters and poll workers reported “extremely unusual” incidents during the primary — not the least, of course, was Greene winning.  Rawl contends that some voters repeatedly pressed the screen for Rawl only to have Greene’s name appear.

“There is a cloud over South Carolina that affects all of our people, Democrats, Republicans, white and African-American alike,” Rawl said at the news conference. “At this point, the people of our state do not have the basic confidence that their vote will be counted.”

Meanwhile, in other bizarre South Carolina races, two-term Attorney General Henry McMaster was expected to announce his endorsement of state Rep. Nikki Haley for governor.  McMaster finished third behind Haley in last week’s Republican primary.  No one on his campaign staff claimed to have had sex with Haley, whose campaign was clouded by allegations from two men that they had had “inappropriate” relationships with her.  One of those men was a consultant to Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer, who finished last.  Bauer has endorsed Haley’s runoff opponent, U.S. Rep. Gresham Barrett.

Oddly, in South Carolina’s very odd election year, the first person to claim an “inappropriate physical relationship” with Nikki Haley has become something of a cheerleader for her.  Will Folks, who was a speechwriter for Haley and press secretary for Gov. Mark Sanford from 2001 to 2005,  declared in his FITSnews.com blog that assuming Haley will win next Tuesday’s runoff ” is sort of like assuming the sun will come up next Tuesday.”  Folks notes that Haley not only continues to lead in the race against Barrett but holds a 55-34 percent advantage over Democratic nominee Vincent Sheheen in the latest Rasmussen Reports poll.

Related: Who is Alvin Greene?

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Ron Taylor

Ron Taylor

Ron Taylor was born and raised in Georgia and worked more than 40 years at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution as a reporter and editor and as an online producer for ajc.com and AccessAtlanta. He served for a time as the newspaper's regional editor, overseeing coverage of the South. He is co-author, with Dr. Leonard Ray Teel, of Into the Newsroom:  An Introduction to Journalism and has conducted workshops in the Middle East on feature writing.

4 Comments
  1. It is entirely possible that what happened in South Carolina is part of a much larger fraud known as “man-in-the-middle.”
    I believe that a company called Polaris uses software that works as follows. When the machine at the polling place sends the vote totals to the official vote tallying computer, an intermediate machine intercepts the numbers and changes the vote totals. This takes mere seconds.
    The vote totals are changed ONLY IN PRECINCTS/COUNTIES where there’s a less than 5 percent difference between candidates, based on pre-election polls.
    But in Alabama, for example, if you fiddled with only 10 votes per county in a state wide race, which is barely noticeable, with 67 counties, that comes to 670 altered votes.
    The more that machines are exclusively used, and the fewer paper ballots there are to actually prove the real vote counts, the easier it is to use man-in-the-middle computers to swing outcomes. I believe firmly but cannot prove that votes in Alabama in Baldwin County were altered in the last two gubernatorial races and I believe that man-in-the-middle has been used in close presidential races in those states like Ohio that were too close to call in 2008. I have friends who tell me that MIM has been used in foreign elections, as well.
    Again, I believe that a consultant [name omitted for fear of a libel suit] with Polaris, has been in Alabama to oversee the use of this software. Proof is, to say the least, difficult to provide.

  2. Thanks for this and other interesting reports, Ron. (And your comment, Gita!) Ah, South Carolina’s Democratic primary for U.S. Senate.

    A landslide victory for Alvin Greene!

    Have any of you seen a news report giving an analysis of the vote? Not speculation, conjecture, or politicians’ self-serving guesses, but statistics. I’d loved to see a journalistic examination of the numbers — voter turnout, demographics, comparisons with previous Democratic primaries, geographic differences in how people voted, etc.

    So far, lots of ink trying to identify the winner. More than 100,000 people voted for Mr. Greene. I’m yet to see a single one of these 100,000 voters quoted in a news story. Isn’t there a city editor in South Carolina who’s told her or his reporters:

    “Go find these people! Ask ’em why they voted for Alvin Greene!”

    After reading reports in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The State (Columbia), and The Post and Courier (Charleston), I concluded Mr. Greene won because he is an African American and black voters loved this fact about him. I assert many, perhaps most voters did not know the race of Mr. Greene.

    There has been some number crunching of the vote. See http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/2010/06/something-fishy-in-south-carolina.html and
    http://www.themonkeycage.org/2010/06/did_alvin_greene_win_because_o.html#comments. It seems racial identification had little to do with Mr. Greene’s amazing victory.

    How Democrats in South Carolina selected their candidate for the U.S. Senate is mostly entertainment. The impressive statistic: 424,893 people cast Republican ballots while 197,380 voted in the Democratic primary. Senator Jim DeMint must be laughing, unless there’s a felony obscenity charge against him we don’t know about.

  3. More particulars here
    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2010/6/14/875923/-Vic-Rawl-challenging-primary-results

    That the machines South Carolina is using are Louisiana cast-offs made me laugh out loud.

    It’s entirely possible that the software was corrupted during a prior election, or that a percentage of votes are randomly flipped, as seemed to have happened in a judge race in Ohio in 2004. The raw data, as I understand it, won’t be available for analysis until after the run-off. It is a fact that the computers used by the Ohio Secretary of State in 2004 were running on proprietary software he purchased from Cannon Technologies, a company founded by William E. Frank, the organizer of the Swiftboat Veterans for Truth and buddy of John McCain. When McCain claimed he’d done everything he could to get George W. Bush elected, he spoke the truth. Nobody really knows whence the skullduggery in the 2000 South Carolina Republican presidential primary arrived. It’s not implausible that it simply backfired.

    McCain’s career has been one of double-dealing and bi-partisanship that’s designed to undermine the interests of the people. It’s no surprise, for example, that most of McCain-Feingold has been ruled un-Constitutional. That was the idea — legislation that’s designed to fail. McCain and his PNAC buddies actually had all the bases covered in 2000 presidential election with himself, Cheney and Lieberman in the lists.

  4. @ Beau: there was a time when newspapers would spend the manpower and money for difficult investigative reports and pages of charts with numbers and percentages to show readers the anomalies. Not nowadays. But you already knew that. ..

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