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SC county’s elections director fired

May 30, 2019

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A South Carolina county’s elections and voter registration director has been fired.

The State reports the Richland County elections agency’s new board voted 5-0 Wednesday to terminate Rokey Suleman’s service after it was discovered that the office failed to count more than 1,000 votes in the November midterm elections. Gov. Henry McMaster fired the agency’s entire board in February.

Many voters thought Suleman was already out of the job, since he reportedly resigned after the count debacle. But he, in fact, had never resigned, saying he only agreed to leave if the board paid the rest of his contract which expired April 30. McMaster fired the board before it could vote on that payout, so he stayed in the job.

The new board will select Suleman’s replacement.

Wednesday’s move was necessary “in terms of overcoming what has become a negative perception and to rebuild the confidence of our citizens who participate in the voting and elections process,” Board Chairman Charles Austin told the newspaper.

“I appreciate the services he provided, especially in the time that we have come in as a new board,” Austin said of Suleman. “But given our assessment of the circumstances in the current situation, we believe this would be a good time to redirect.”

Suleman, who earned $93,000 a year, would not comment on the board’s decision. “I wish the board well,” he said.

Thad Hall, the agency’s deputy director, was called into the board’s cramped, stuffy meeting room moments after Suleman’s termination. Asked by Austin to fill in as interim director while the board searches for a full-time replacement, Hall replied, “Sure, I will do that.”

The decision gives the new board a chance to start fresh with a new director, who will be the agency’s sixth in six years.

“We believe that it was a good time for the agency to move in a new direction, under new leadership,” Austin said.

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Information from: The State, http://www.thestate.com

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