South Carolina Elections Director to Resign at End of Year
The executive director of the South Carolina Election Commission will leave her post at the end of the year after overseeing the state's ballot box process for nearly two decades, she wrote in her resignation letter.
Marci Andino informed the board's chairman on Wednesday that her last day would be Dec. 31, according to the letter obtained by news outlets. It doesn't specify a specific reason for leaving.
"I have dedicated most of my life's work to ensuring my fellow South Carolinians had the opportunity to vote in fair and impartial elections," Andino wrote. "As I near the fulfillment of the duties of my current post, I stand proud of our accomplishments. And as I plan for future opportunities, I will always remain steadfast in my dedication to the preservation of our democracy."
Her departure follows tension with state Republican leaders in the leadup to the 2020 election. She recommended stricter safety measures amid the COVID-19 pandemic, including expanding absentee voting.
One of her suggestions was challenged in court and made it all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court: the removal of a witness signature requirement for absentee ballots. But the court ruled unanimously that the rule should stay.
"Legislation and court decisions changed the rules frequently, but we adapted and stayed focused on making sure reasonable precautions were taken and every voter had the information they needed to cast their ballot," Andino wrote in her letter regarding the 2020 election.
Republican state Sen. Chip Campsen, who chairs an election agency oversight subcommittee, told The Post & Courier that he didn't want to see Andino leave despite disagreeing with her recommendations last year.
"I've really had a good relationship with her and worked with her on election law changes," Campsen told the newspaper. "But to me it was inappropriate (for Andino to suggest absentee voting expansions) because the Legislature is the policymakers."
The news of Andino's resignation also comes as Republican lawmakers have looked to give the commission greater authority over county election offices through legislation.
Trav Robertson, who chairs the South Carolina Democratic Party, tweeted that Andino's resignation is "the Republican attempt to stop people from voting."
"It's a sad day when an individual performs their job above and beyond reproach and doesn't have the support of the elected officials because the civil serve won't do their political pandering," Robertson told The State. "I think the Republicans who claim to love freedom and democracy are proving they only love it for them."
Andino also faced backlash when serving on an advisory board for Election Systems and Software, the country's largest voting equipment company. News outlets reported that the vendor covered nearly $20,000 in expenses for Andino over a decade before the company won a contract to implement a new voting system in South Carolina.
She said she cleared her role on the board with the state ethics office and quit the position before bidding for a new voting system.
Andino took over as the fourth leader of the South Carolina Election Commission in 2003. She wrote in her resignation letter that during her tenure, she oversaw the implementation of a new voter registration system in 2011, state photo ID laws in 2012 and a new candidate filing process in 2013.