Richland County Elections commission seeks new director, office for upcoming year

The Richland County Elections and Voter Registration office likely could move from 2020 Hampton St. if commissioners can convince County Council the department’s relocation is necessary.

“If we find another space, the biggest caveat will be the county council,” said Chairwoman Marjorie Johnson. “They pay. They supply the budget, funds. They have the say in that. We’re dependent on their agreeing that yes we need to move.”

Board members also reviewed crime data from the Richland County Sheriff’s Department that reported a large number of vandalism, burglaries and aggravated assaults in the area near the warehouse that holds the ballot machines and equipment for elections.

Data revealed 451 drug and narcotic violations and 357 reported vandalism offenses in the area between Nov. 1, 2013, and Nov. 23, 2014.

The board is considering a number of places to house the department headquarters and meeting space, as well as be a safe place to hold and retrieve election equipment.

“This building can’t be stretched. It is the footprint that it is,” Johnson said. “We need breathing room.”

The board also plans to release an ad and job description for the executive director position. Samuel Selph currently serves as interim after former Director Howard Jackson was ousted from his position months after the 2013 election season.

Johnson said the board will accept inquiries but that a formal job listing likely would not be released until February. A new director could take over by next fall.

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