The embattled Richland County elections director says she will resign her position.
Director of Voter Registration and Elections Lillian McBride submitted a letter to the county’s election board during its Thursday meeting, saying that her resignation would be effective January 12. Several board members said they appreciated her 20-plus years of service in the office.
“I have decided it would be difficult for me to continue in that role moving forward. Accordingly, I shall relinquish my duties and responsibilities and leave my current position as Executive Director,” McBride wrote in the letter, “In taking this action I accept fully the responsibility for what occurred during the election on November 6, 2012.”
At the end of her letter, dated Thursday, McBride said she would welcome an opportunity to serve the new director in another capacity.
McBride had been promoted to the newly-created position after the Voter Registration and Election offices were combined in 2011. During her first year, McBride had been just another anonymous government official until Election Day 2012, when major voting problems plagued Richland County. Voters complained about long wait times— reaching seven hours in some precincts. A later investigation revealed the county had deployed 200 fewer machines than state law requires.
Several problems with machines and missing ballots delayed the final vote count until more than a week after the election. Calls for resignation first flared up among angry voters, then a majority of the Richland County legislative delegation began asking her to step down in December.
The resignation comes a few weeks after at least one legislator told reporters that McBride was planning to step down. State Rep. Todd Rutherford (D-Columbia) created a minor brouhaha on December 19 after he left a closed door meeting with McBride’s attorney and told reporters that the attorney was discussing the director’s resignation with lawmakers. A few hours later, McBride denied rumors that her departure was imminent.
That occurred a day after the Election Board’s chair Liz Crum resigned on December 18. Crum said at the time that she had lost confidence in McBride’s ability to manage the office.
The board named Jasper Salmond as acting director until a replacement can be found. Salmond, the former chairman of the Richland School District One board, says he does not want the job permanently.