South Carolina

Articles about voting issues in South Carolina.

South Carolina: Election Commission requesting new voting system that they say must have paper trail | Post and Courier

South Carolina election officials have taken a key step toward replacing the state’s 13,000 outdated voting machines and want the new system to generate a paper record after each ballot is cast. The state Election Commission on Friday outlined its call for a “statewide voting system solution” in a request for proposal, or RFP. The RFP marks the first formal step in soliciting contracts or bids from voting system vendors. Officials want the new system implemented by January 2020, ahead of the next presidential election. The touchscreen machines South Carolina voters have used since 2004 provide no paper record, making the Palmetto State one of five states where voting machines do not leave a paper trail behind. That means when there’s a contested election or a suspected security breach, there is currently no paper component for auditing results. Read More

South Carolina: Should South Carolina ditch outdated voting machines, switch to paper? | The State

A bipartisan group of legislators Tuesday proposed switching to paper ballots, even mail-in ballots, to replace the state’s “archaic” voting machines before South Carolinians cast their votes in the 2020 presidential election. Four S.C. House and Senate legislators said Tuesday they will pre-file bills next month to address the state’s aging voting machines and how the state should pay for a new voting system. “A voting system that is not only fair but also gives voters confidence that their vote has been cast and their vote has been … counted,” said state Sen. Thomas McElveen, D-Sumter. Money for a new voting system should not be that hard to find in what is developing as a flush budget year. Read More

South Carolina: Legislators call for return to paper-based voting in South Carolina | The Post and Courier

Returning to paper ballots may be the solution for eliminating lines and ensuring all votes are counted correctly, a group of South Carolina legislators said Tuesday. While there’s wide support in the Legislature for replacing South Carolina’s 13,000 antiquated voting machines before the 2020 elections, what the next system should look like is up for debate. State election officials are seeking $60 million in the upcoming budget for a new system with a paper component for auditing. The touchscreen machines South Carolina voters have used since 2004 provide no paper record. “It’s shocking to me we have no paper trail,” said Rep. Beth Bernstein, D-Columbia. She was among several legislators Tuesday who said paper printouts won’t suffice. They advocate going old school with paper ballots. “We don’t want a machine auditing a machine,” said Sen. Thomas McElveen, D-Sumter. “We want something tangible.”  Read More

South Carolina: Glitchy voting machines in South Carolina spur new investment | StateScoop

South Carolina election officials said Friday they’re pushing ahead with plans to replace the state’s nearly 13,000 electronic voting machines in time for the next presidential election in 2020, following complaints by some voters last week that the aging equipment changed their ballots or simply broke down, causing extreme wait times at polling places. The State Election Commission said it is requesting $60 million from South Carolina lawmakers to swap out the existing equipment, which was purchased in 2004, for a balloting system that can produce a paper ballot. The machines the state currently uses to conduct elections only offer voters a touchscreen interface and are not capable of printing out paper backups of votes that can be audited. South Carolina is one of five states that exclusively use these types of machines — known as direct-recording electronic, or DREs — to collect votes, along with Delaware, Georgia, Louisiana and New Jersey. Several other states, including Texas and Pennsylvania, use DREs as their main type of voting equipment. Read More

South Carolina: Old voting machines blamed for some Election Day problems. Will State replace them? | The State

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. Read More

South Carolina: Voting snafus renew calls for new voting machines in South Carolina | The Greenville News

Following an election highlighted by long lines at the polls and reports of broken voting machines, programming errors and machines that switched votes for some candidates, voting rights advocates have renewed calls for the state Legislature to replace South Carolina’s aging voting machines. The state’s 13,000 voting machines have been in use since 2004 and use pre-2004 technology. South Carolina is one of five states that still uses machines that directly record votes without providing a paper trail to follow in the case of disputed elections or investigations of vote tampering. And in an election in which voters in Richland and York counties reported their votes being switched after they’d made a selection, the ACLU of South Carolina and the South Carolina Progressive Network have once again called on lawmakers to upgrade the system. Read More

South Carolina: USC professor raises concerns over South Carolina voting equipment | WLTX

WLTX has done several stories in recent weeks about voting equipment issues in Richland county and concern over the state’s aging voting equipment. A USC computer science professor, known for critiquing the state’s aging voting equipment, is another voice calling for change before 2020. “I think in order to restore trust in elections, we need to get as much technology out of this process as possible,” Duncan Buell said in his faculty office on Thursday. Buell, a USC computer science professor with a doctorate in mathematics, has been auditing state election results independently for years. He and the South Carolina State Election Commission started separate audits in 2010. “We have seen a significant improvement, I think, in the quality of the process since 2010,” Buell added in his office. Buell said a 2010 Democratic senate primary caused concern due to issues with vote counts in some counties. Together with others, like the League of Women Voters, Buell started individual audits. In 2016, Buell said the data was, “really very very clean.” Read More

South Carolina: Voting machine problems in Richland County precincts | The State

A calibration issue resulting from aging technology caused ‘mismarking’ of votes for some ballots in Richland County voting precincts Tuesday morning. By the time polls had closed on Election Day, Richland County officials said they were “happy with where we are.” Early in the day, Richland County Elections Director Rokey Suleman told The State some precincts had problems with machines “mismarking the vote” — or switching the selection to another name — because of calibration issues with the aging touch-screen machines. “If the calibration slips, you can touch it but the screen will select either above or below because of the calibration issue,” Suleman said. “The machines are just old, and we’re starting to see more and more issues with screen calibrations not being able to hold.” Read More

South Carolina: Richland County says election running smoothly after equipment malfunction | WLTX

The Director of Richland County elections is telling voters not to worry after an electronic malfunction caused headaches earlier this month. As absentee votes are cast this month, they’re being cast on new personal electronic ballot (PEB) cards after a technical issue required all the cards to be replaced. Richland County Elections Director Rokey Suleman explained the problem. “We noticed a situation where we were putting our personal electronic ballots into the machines to activate the machines and the machines were shutting down,” Suleman explained on Monday. The cards tell the machines what elections to pull up for voters. Suleman said they are programed ahead of time and then inserted into the machines before elections. After discovering the issue, Richland County staff worked with the vendors for a few days to try and find a solution to the software issue. Read More

South Carolina: “Voting Machine Virus” Plagues Richland County | FITSNews

Richland County, South Carolina’s much-maligned election commission is dealing with yet another problem as the upcoming 2018 midterms approach.  And given this particular jurisdiction’s history of, um,”issues” – you will forgive us for expressing a healthy degree of skepticism when it comes to both the origin of the problem and the county’s ability to effectively address it. As much as we wish it were otherwise, we simply do not trust the integrity of elections in Richland County.  Hopefully, our faith will be restored under the leadership of new election administrators, but after the notorious “rigged election” of 2012 we remain less than optimistic. Six years ago, illegal shortages of voting machines disproportionately targeted precincts which opposed a so-called “penny” tax hike in the previous (2010) election.  These illegal shortages led to abnormally long wait times in these precincts and the mass disenfranchisement of anti-tax voters. Read More