South Carolina is receiving federal funds to boost its election security — but not enough to make the changes state election officials say are really needed. The S.C. Election Commission will receive a $6 million grant from the U.S. Election Assistance Commission to improve the state’s election security ahead of the 2018 election, including replacing some of the state’s aging voting machines. The grant money, combined with $4 million lawmakers are expected spend this year and $1 million election officials have set aside, gives the state $11 million total to spend on updating the state’s 14-year-old voting machines. But election officials say the cost of replacing the more than 13,000 machines voters use to cast their ballots statewide could reach $50 million.
The Election Commission requested $20 million from the Legislature this year to set aside for new voting equipment, the agency’s spokesman Chris Whitmire said, adding the goal is to replace all the state’s machines in time for the 2020 presidential election.
“There has been talk of more federal funding, but nothing concrete,” Whitmire said. “That’s not in the picture at this point, so our only option is the General Assembly.”