Today Senate Majority Leader Shane Massey Released the Following Statement On The Election Integrity Bill:
“South Carolinians are sincerely concerned about voter fraud. That’s why the Senate passed a strong bill to beef up election security, require hand-count audits of election results, and make it a felony for those who try to cheat elections. But the Senate did more than that.
The single largest threat to election integrity in South Carolina is the incompetence of the South Carolina Elections Commission and the election staff pushing a liberal agenda on behalf of partisan groups. The state election commission has disregarded state law that prohibits drop boxes and allowed counties to jeopardize elections by inconsistently applying the law. In 2020, the state election commission pushed legislators to adopt a California style vote-by-mail program and mail every registered voter a ballot. They recommended eliminating the witness signature requirement on absentee ballots. They asked for drop boxes for those unwitnessed, mail ballots to be deposited with no oversight at all.
In response, Governor McMaster allowed the executive director to stay on the job. Governor McMaster allowed the commission members to stay on the job. He sat there and did nothing.
When the election commission was sued by the ACLU to have the witness signature requirement removed, the Governor’s election commission essentially allowed it to happen. But this time, Governor McMaster decided to act. When the ACLU sued him, Governor McMaster actually asked to be dismissed. Instead of fighting for our election integrity, Governor McMaster ran from the battlefield and left his incompetent and leftist election commission to defend South Carolina. And South Carolina lost.
Governor McMaster unilaterally appoints all election commission members. Only he can fire them. Every one of them who sat on their hands and allowed liberals to jeopardize our elections in 2020 are still on the job today. Those commissioners sat there and allowed county commissions, such as Richland County, to repeatedly screw up election procedures and results. After almost a decade as State Republican Party Chairman, 8 years as Attorney General, 2 years as Lt. Governor, and now 6 years as Governor, Henry McMaster sat back and watched it all happen.
We now have the best chance to fix some of these election law issues, and the Senate has asked for advice and consent oversight of the election commission, as it does with every other state agency.
Governor McMaster calls this a “power grab.” And that’s exactly what it is. Somebody has to step up. Somebody has to lead. Somebody has to ensure liberal activists are not running our state election commission and jeopardizing our elections. If Governor McMaster is not going to do it, the Senate will.
The Senate has passed meaningful reform to ensure election integrity. But, for all the talk about legitimate and necessary efforts to ban drop boxes, trim the list of excuses for mail-in ballots, requiring more security for mail-in ballots, cleaning up voter rolls, and prohibiting the use of money from third-party groups like ACLU or Facebook, none of that will matter if the state election commission won’t actually enforce the law. It doesn’t matter how strong we make the law if the entity responsible for enforcing that law simply won’t enforce it.
There is absolutely no reason we can’t pass a meaningful election integrity package this session. There is plenty of time. The Senate will continue to work in good faith with Governor McMaster and the House of Representatives to do that. Senate Republicans are not interested in fighting with other Republicans. However, the Senate will insist that these reforms be meaningful. South Carolina voters demand accountability. I will not “compromise” on election integrity, as Governor McMaster would have us do. Nor will I bend to weak-kneed party leadership more interested in getting a short-term political win than solving the very real and clear and present problem.”
Senator Shane Massey