CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Election day always comes with its own unique set of problems.
“Where is my polling location?”
“This machine is not working.”
That’s where the South Carolina Election Protection Hotline comes in. Problems of any kind can be reported by calling the number (866) 687-8683 or 866-OUR-VOTE.
Susan Dunn is the legal director of the South Carolina ACLU and says they collect complaints on just about everything, from computer problems and long lines to campaigning too close to a polling location.
“And then there are the regular sorts of things of people not knowing where they should go to vote. Basic information like that,” Dunn said. “Unfortunately, we invariably get people who don’t know they have to register.”
While there is not a lot that can be done about not registering to vote, Dunn says the data they collect on complaints helps pave the way for the next election.
“We gather that data so we can make it useful for the people that run the elections so they can know what the problems are,” Dunn said.
However, many problems can be solved well before the polls even close with a simple phone call.
“I have been doing this long enough that I know a whole lot of the people who run the elections. I’ve got their cell phone numbers. I just call them up,” Dunn said.
This will be the hotline’s 14th year in operation.
Dunn says South Carolina is no stranger to election day drama.
“Up until recently, one of our real concerns was the fact that our voting machines were really out of date and had no paper trail and no effective way to be audited,” Dunn said. “We do have new machines that have addressed some of those issues.”
The efforts behind the hotline are crucially non-partisan.
“We are here because we honestly believe that this is the critical foundation of our democracy and we want citizens to be encouraged and able to vote, and we don’t have any of the political reasons to suppress a vote,” Dunn said.
After the polls close, they will shift their focus to the certification hearings and will try to have a staff member present at as many of them as possible.