Dorchester Co. community angry about change in polling place; officials say change necessary

Updated: Oct. 12, 2020 at 7:00 PM EDT
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DORCHESTER COUNTY, S.C. (WCSC) - People who live in a Dorchester County community whose polling place has been moved say they will fight to get it back.

The Dorchester County Election Commission moved the Delemar polling place at Sand Hill United Methodist Church in the Clubhouse community to Sand Hill Elementary School about six miles away.

Longtime Clubhouse residents said the change was unfair to the community.

“We had no warning, heard nothing about it, thrown upon us. It’s a slap on our face,” Margaret Goodwine said.

“I don’t understand the justification where you would take a precinct from a community where a lot of the people don’t have transportation. A lot of people are elderly, a lot of them disabled,” James Heyward Jr. said.

A spokeswoman for Dorchester County said the change was made for several reasons.

Tiffany Norton said the county is moving towards putting polling places in government and public buildings and away from churches Norton said are often used for funerals, weddings and other events that could conflict with Election Day.

Norton also said the election commission has had issues in the past with gaining access to the church to deliver or pickup voting machines.

Goodwine says that’s not true.

“The community is always given accolades for how we ran our precinct. We never had any issues or problems,” she said.

“The whole process was not fair,” Heyward said.

The NAACP’s legal defense fund is trying to help the Clubhouse community get their polling place back.

The organization sent the election commission a letter in August asking them to reconsider the change.

Goodwine says residents have attended every election commission meeting and will be at Thursday’s meeting hoping to be heard.

"Hopefully it will come back to this community, Goodwine said.

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