The South Carolina Democratic Executive Committee has upheld last week’s primary results in the race for U.S. Senate that gave a win to unknown candidate Alvin Greene. Greene, who has been a focus of national media for a week, received 60 percent of the vote over Vic Rawl, who protested the election results.
In a hearing at the Education Association Building in Columbia Thursday evening Rawl’s attorney called witnesses to testify, even though Greene did not speak. The focus was on the malfunction of voting machines.
Rawl’s campaign manager Walter Ludwig said the election misfired. He sited abnormalities, like a big difference between Rawl’s absentee votes, counted one way, and regular votes counted by the machines on primary day. Ludwig pointed to a 43 percent discrepancy between absentee and regular votes in Lancaster County, even though the two categories are usually close. He said the state’s voting machines were purchased as used and that they were old.
But apparently party officials wanted to move quickly past the primary to allow a focus on other races in the general election. The vote in favor of a motion to reject the protest was 38.5 to 7.5. Some members of the Executive Committee only have a half vote. Greene will face incumbent Republican Jim Demint.
Ludwig sited information from a renowned election expert responding to several points about the primary vote. Concerning the idea that Greene won because his name was listed first on the ballot, Ludwig said statistics showed that, at most, that would only give Greene a five percent advantage.
Concerning votes favoring the fact that Greene is black, Ludwig said Greene didn’t receive many votes in Orangeburg County, even though that county has a large black population.
Concerning the “e” on the end of Greene’s name which some people have said indicated that he was black, Ludwig said even though it varied from county to county, that overall in South Carolina, there are more whites with the name Greene(with the “e” spelling) than there are blacks with the same spelling.
Ludwig said Rawl even tied with Greene in Rawl’s home district, where Rawl served on County Council and had previously defeated Republicans in other races.
University of South Carolina professor Duncan Buell spoke as a voting machine expert. He said that all studies on electronic voting machines have found problems. He says his students study election machine software as what not to do, because it’s seriously flawed.
Buell said that electronic voting machine systems can be tampered with, that a collective vote from one machine could be replicated among many machines.
Attorney Steve Abrams, a forensic expert on voting machines, said it would be very easy for a voter to tamper with a South Carolina voting machine, or the results from a group of machines as they are tabulated. He said he tried to check out machines in Berkeley County where he knew there were problems but he was not allowed access.
Abrams also said no voting machines should only record the results on software, as is the case in South Carolina, without a paper tabulation.
Rawl’s campaign office manager Anne Owens said voters told her that when they pressed the button to vote for Rawl, that a vote was cast for Greene instead.
James Island resident Susan Turner testified that when she tried to vote in the governor’s race, a vote for Alvin Greene popped up.
Rawl made a brief statement following the committee’s decision, saying that his protest was not about the Democratic party.
State Republican Representative Chip Limehouse of Charleston has asked SLED to investigate how Greene paid his filing fee of $10,400 if he was actually indigent, as Limehouse says he claimed to be when he was assigned a public defender. The legal counsel was appointed to represent him against a charge that he showed obscene photos to a student on the University of South Carolina campus in Columbia.
Greene has said he saved for two years to pay the filing fee, but House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn asserts that Greene must have had help in paying the fee.