Your right to vote is threatened in South Carolina. That’s the message of a lawsuit filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Columbia against the S.C. Election Commission, its members and Marci Andino, the commission’s executive director. South Carolina’s thousands of digital voting machines are antiquated, break down, leave no paper trail of votes that can be audited, and have “deep security flaws” that make them vulnerable to hacking by Russians and others, the 45-page lawsuit alleges. “By failing to provide S.C. voters with a system that can record their votes reliably,” the Election Commission has deprived South Carolinians of their constitutional right to vote, the lawsuit says.
Andino said Tuesday she had no comment on the lawsuit, which she had not yet seen. However, she said the Election Commission is aware of the urgent need to replace the state’s voting machines, all nearing the end of their expected 15-year life cycle. The commission already has some $10 million that can go toward the up to $50 million replacement cost.
“We have been trying to get funds from the General Assembly for the last six or seven years,” said Andino, who wants to replace the current machines by the 2020 presidential election.
The lawsuit aims to force the state to replace its touch-screen machines, bought about 2005, with new machines that have paper backup systems and are more secure from hacking. The state paid about $34.5 million at that time to buy an initial 11,300 machines.