As the calendar rolls into 2014, the political season moves into hyper mode as state voters prepare to go to the polls to elect a governor and two U.S. senators and make other decisions in a mid-term election. Memories of long lines at the polls and questions about the state’s electronic voting machines are likely to recur. A Clemson University professor says he has some technological solutions to those problems. Juan Gilbert, chair of human-centered computing at Clemson, envisions a time when voters will be able to cast their ballots online without leaving home, and when each vote can be verified without relying solely on electronic data. … The state spent more than $34 million for about 11,400 iVotrinic voting machines in 2004 and 2005, according to a report released last year by the state Legislative Audit Council. That’s about $3,000 per machine, compared to about $500 for an iPad.
The current machines leave no paper trail, which means the only verification of the accuracy of the count is re-checking the data in the computers, the LAC report says. In the 2013 election, audits were done only on elections for state office and higher, according to the LAC report. “One concern, especially with local elections, is the short amount of time between the election and certification,” the report says.
The state’s League of Women Voters has studied the current machines and said it found more than 2,500 errors in two counties alone in 2010, according to documents supporting its 2012 presentation to the LAC.
South Carolina is one of 16 states that uses paperless voting machines, which prompted a grade of “inadequate” by the Verified Voting Foundation, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that advocates for accuracy, transparency and verifiability of elections.