Richland County's new elections director has promised the Columbia Municipal Elections Commission a problem-free election on December 3rd when voters will ballot on a referendum about whether the city should change to a strong-mayor form of government.

Howard Jackson told the Commission there won't be a repeat of the November 5th city and county elections, where a state audit shows more than 1,100 absentee ballots were not counted.

Meanwhile, Richland County's Voter Registration and Election Commission has apologized for the uncounted ballots.

Chairman Allen Dowdy wrote in a letter that the Commission is asking for the public's patience as the board evaluates the leadership and staff involved in county elections.

The uncounted ballots issue is similar to problems in the November election last year, when there were also long delays at some polling places and too few voting machines.

The county had hired Jackson in an effort to straighten out the voting process.