Drama at the Berkeley County Board of Elections Meeting

By: Gen L.

Below is a refresh of the Berkeley February meeting covered.

The follow-up meeting is being held on Thursday, May 4th , 2023 at 10:30am to address the issues brought up at the February 23rd, 2023 Berkeley County Board of Elections meeting.

Berkeley February meeting–drama, drama, drama

The February meeting was to address the fifty pages of compiled data gathered from poll workers from the November 2022 elections submitted by the Berkeley County Republican Party.

Upon walking into the door, it was obvious that it was packed with at least a hundred people and there was already an air of tension. Quite a stark contrast when compared to the previous meeting that was held on January 10th, 2023 at 10:30am, when only ten people were there as the board addressed the 200 votes that were being challenged from the 2020 general election. The meeting began with the Director, Rosie Brown, reading a Director’s Report which had been previously written and seemed to be preemptively laying the groundwork for the upcoming dismissal of the issues being presented. At least there was one thing that was consistent between the two meetings in January and February, the board’s tactics: dismiss and deflect responsibility to the state. After the
pre-approved report was read, the board then briefly addressed a few, like two or three, of all the items presented. This involved either an explanation to justify the issue or absolving themselves of the
responsibility of the issue. It seems that all the problems are due to the State Election Commission and the elected local delegation. In no way does any of the blame fall on the Berkeley County Board of
Elections or the Director. Subsequent to this short address, were the public comments.

Despite the fact that fifty pages had been presented and such a small percentage of the issues discussed, the Chairman of the Berkeley County Republican Party, whom submitted the issues, was only
given five minutes to speak. Very shortly after she began to read some of the issues, the crowd started shouting that her time was over. Per Robert’s Rules of Order, which is supposedly how meetings are to
be run unless other rules have been established, the gentleman who was to comment behind her granted her four of his five minutes of public comments, so she continued. Well the crowd, who was
apparently running the meeting, would not acknowledge this and began yelling obscenities like “shut up” and “sit down”. The board was unable to regain order and explain to the crowd the rules of meetings so the Chairman did sit down as she was unable to be heard over the shouting from the crowd.

With the next speaker, the crowd, who was obviously in charge of running the meeting during the public comments, all had their phones out and were timing the individuals speaking. It didn’t matter if they
were interrupted or if the board was responding to the questions, it was all considered part of the person’s time and the crowd would promptly yell for them to sit down when they felt their time was up. This led to phones throughout the room ringing as alarms went off and continued despite one of the board members repeatedly asking for phones to be turned off. In one of the comments, the ringing was so loud, it sounded like a car alarm, and it seemed the person was unable to turn it off so it completely prevented this lady from being able to be heard during her timed five minutes. She was explaining that she was told, at the last meeting she had attended in January, by one of the board members, Don Rose, that she and a group of three other women should stop worrying their pretty little heads about election integrity and that they should instead go out and get boyfriends.

In one instant, the person issuing a comment regarding the picture of the inmates physically handling the ballots during the audit had not reached the end of her time but said something the crowd didn’t like so she was immediately cut off and could not proceed over the roar from the crowd.

Throughout all of this, the Chairman of the Board of Elections, Don Saturday, only banged his gavel twice and told the audience to act in a professional manner. The board did not seem bothered by the way citizens exercising their right to public comment were being treated or that their time was being infringed upon by the loud, ruling mob.
This continued on through all the public comments highlighting different election issues, the crowd’s noise making it very hard to hear the facts. In one instant, the lady was simply asking why the meetings
are held during the day when people are at work and not livestreamed for everyone to see. A very valid question and definitely important when it comes to transparency which is vital in election matters.
Magically, the stopwatches were not used and the shouting stopped when it seemed someone with their view point stood up to speak. Not surprising, the side there to discuss election issues did not time
them or interrupt them or tell them to sit down.

At the end of the board meeting, the board was asked about returning to paper ballots to which one of the board members, Pam Lamb, responded that she knew Berkeley County residents did not want paper ballots or to get rid of the machines because she had seen it on the national news.

What are the next steps and what can you do?

If you are a Berkeley County registered voter and you want your voice to be heard peacefully, if you have concerns about elections, if you are interested in paper ballots being counted at the precinct level or if you have any other thoughts, concerns, or comments relating to elections:

  1. SHOW UP. The next meeting will be Thursday, May 4th, 2023 at 10:30am in the building where taxes are paid, address: 1003 US-52 Moncks Corner, SC 29461.
  2. Ask for and encourage the local media to be there. They care about election irregularities, right?
  3. Contact and inform your local elected officials as they should also be present because they want to ensure their races are being conducted fairly and transparently, right?
  4. Insist that there needs to be some form of law enforcement present to ensure there is order since the board is unable to control the crowd. People should not be intimidated or afraid to speak and an appropriate environment, free from violence, yelling and obscenities, needs to be provided for all Berkeley County Citizens.

Remember all the power should be with the people but our voices need to be properly heard.