- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 31, 2017

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - A Sumter County official has been charged with trying to coerce voters at the polls during last summer’s state primary elections, state police announced Tuesday.

Sara H. Benenhaley, 64, was arrested on Monday and charged with willful neglect or corrupt conduct by officers other than an election manager, according to a release issued by the State Law Enforcement Division.

According to a SLED arrest warrant, Benenhaley used her position as a polling official to tell voters whom they should support in the June 14 primary and in a subsequent runoff election on June 28.

State police warrants didn’t specify what candidate Benenhaley was telling people to support.

Court papers and arrest documents didn’t list an attorney for Benenhaley, who was released from jail Monday on a $500 personal recognizance bond.

If convicted of the misdemeanor offense, Benenhaley could spend three years in prison or pay a $500 fine.

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Kinnard can be reached at http://twitter.com/MegKinnardAP . Read more of her work at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/meg-kinnard/

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