Voting equipment that’s older than the first iPhone is being blamed by some election officials in South Carolina for some problems voters experienced on Election Day. State and local election officials are calling on S.C. lawmakers to pay up for new voting equipment in time for next year’s local elections to head off any further issues that could arise during the next general election. “Most of our issues that we had on Election Day were as a result of the age of the equipment,” said Rokey Suleman, Richland County’s elections director. “We desperately want to have this (new) equipment and run it through the fall elections in 2019, because if we implement it for the first time in presidential preference primaries, which are going to have high turnout, or in the presidential election, it’s going to have an impact.” South Carolina’s current voting machines were purchased in 2004. The first iPhone was released three years later.
Some voters in Richland and York counties on Tuesday complained of the touchscreen voting machines changing their selections when they pressed the screens. One woman in Lake Wylie said her voting machine changed her vote for U.S. House representative six times before poll workers moved her to a new machine.
Some of those issues were happening because of calibration issues with the older machines. Though machine calibration can be fixed at the polling sites, those issues are happening more frequently as the machines age, York County elections director Wanda Hemphill said.
“All election officials are in agreement that the system needs to be replaced,” Hemphill said. “It’s showing its wear.”