There have been numerous complaints about the inequitable alphabetical divisions of voter names. By that we mean that, for example, all voters whose names begin with A-K in one line and L-Z in another.
P&C reporter Robert Behre reports that at his precinct Charleston 9, voters signed in in alphabetized lines, but then all joined the same line for the voting machines. This seems to be the exception. At Fort Johnson Middle School, James Island Precinct 8B, voter Katherine W. says she was finished long before her husband, Richard G. At my own downtown Precinct 18 at Rivers Middle School , A-Ks were waiting a lot longer than the rest of the alphabet. We've heard this repeated in precincts throughout the Lowcountry. Apparently, this has been reported in cities such as Rock Hill and Sumter as well.
Take this example from Post and Courier Business Editor John McDermott:
Those residents were lumped into a single group and funneled into one long
line. Anyone whose last name started with A-D or S-Z went right to the
front -- or at least to a much shorter queue. The S-Z line was at one point
had no one in it for at least 15 minutes. When a voter finally did walk up
to sign in, the poll worker at the table quipped, "Another customer."
The reason for the disparity, according to a polling place official, was
that the Election Commission "screwed up" when divvying up the alphabet for
Turnout was heavy at mid-morning. At around 10:30 the line curled out the
door and onto the Miller Cadillac property next door, where Charleston
County School Board incumbent candidate Toya Hampton Green was handing out
campaign material salong with someone offering coupons for a deal at a local
ice cream parlor. The wait for anyone who got in line at that time ram about
two hours and 15 minutes.
By 12:45 turnout had eased considerably, but by then the "I Voted" stickers
So, with election commission officials somewhat distracted today, we have not been able to determine whether the alphabetical divisions were based on the names of registered voters in each precinct or officials just divided up the 26 letters equally and perhaps arbitrarily. It's something we should check into, in hopes of solving this issue next time we all queue up at the polls.
Of course, the real tragedy of John's example is the lack of stickers. I mean, really.