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South Carolina: Court ruling could change how South Carolina votes. Will it stop elections from being hacked? | The State

Duncan Buell paints a nightmare scenario of how South Carolina’s elections could be hacked. Someone armed with a smartphone, a palm pilot — even a personal electronic ballot purchased online, like the ones used by S.C. poll workers — could sign in to vote at a polling site and load a bit of malicious code onto one of the state’s touchscreen voting machines without anyone noticing. A voter carrying their own personal electronic ballot might stand out in the line to cast a ballot, said Buell, a computer science professor at Clemson University who consults on election technology. But, he added, “If it’s a day when it would not be unusual to be wearing a trench coat, someone could get it in, slot it and insert malware into the machine.” Buell is not the only one worried that South Carolina’s aging voting machines are vulnerable to outside interference in an election. Last week, a federal court in Georgia ruled against an effort to force the Peach State to switch to paper ballots in time for the Nov. 6 election. Read More

South Carolina: Proposal to pay $50 million for better voting machines at South Carolina polls | wistv

There are millions of dollars of taxes collected that are unspent and lawmakers will decide what to do with them. Here’s a plan for the ballot box: to spend $50 million to replace old, outdated voting machines in South Carolina. There are 13,000 voting machines some call antiquated. One state representative goes as far to call them unreliable. But the commission says $50 million may not replace all 13,000 machines, but it could at least make a better backup system – a paper trail of votes. The right to vote is the backbone of democracy. Some feel the system in South Carolina needs adjustment – worth $50 million taxpayer dollars. “Ballots are the currency in which we purchase democracy,” said Rokey Suleman II with Richland County Voter Registration, and Elections. “So, we have to treat that ballot as secure as we do any sort of currency, and we have to treat it like a bank vault and a cash drawer at a store.” Read More

South Carolina: What is South Carolina doing to keep 2018 election from being hacked? | The State

If the Russians show up again this election season, South Carolina wants to be ready. Earlier this month, election officials from all 46 counties sat down with federal officials from the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security to plan possible responses to election hacking attempts in the run-up to November’s election. It was the first time federal law enforcement agencies have led such a statewide training exercise, playing out different scenarios on how malicious actors could try to break into South Carolina’s election system ahead of November. … A lawsuit filed last month says the machines are so dysfunctional that they violate the right to vote for citizens. Read More

South Carolina: Aging voting system threatens election security in South Carolina | WYFF

Election security experts see cracks in South Carolina’s current voting system. Elizabeth Howard works as Cybersecurity and Elections Counsel with the Brennan Center for Justice in Washington, D.C. Howard said an aging election system could impact every vote in South Carolina. “Election security is an issue that faces every eligible voter in the state of South Carolina and across the country,” Howard told WYFF News 4. “There is widespread agreement, bipartisan agreement, that the current situation is very concerning.” Read More

South Carolina: Voters sue state over paperless voting machines | CyberScoop

South Carolina voters are suing their state over its use of paperless voting machines amid worries that they are susceptible to hacking without detection. The complaint filed Tuesday seeks a declaration from the court that South Carolina has violated the plaintiffs’ fundamental right to have their votes counted and prevent the state from continuing to use the machines it currently has in place. The lawsuit largely resembles one that is ongoing in Georgia. With the midterm elections coming up in November, the lawsuit does not outline any short-term alternatives to using the state’s current machines. The plaintiffs in the Georgia lawsuit propose using provisional paper ballots that can be scanned with the machines the state uses for absentee ballots. Read More

South Carolina: State’s 13,000 voting machines unreliable, vulnerable to hackers, lawsuit alleges | The State

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. Read More

Arkansas: Lonoke County Voters Push for More Training after ‘Fiasco’ at Polls during Primary Election | FOX16

Problems at polling places on primary night in Lonoke County have many voters pushing for more training across the state. The Democratic Party of Arkansas has filed several complaints over issues there, with at least one more on its way from a former state lawmaker. The party first filed a lawsuit on election day, demanding all Lonoke County polling places remain open until 10 p.m., which was two and a half hours after they were supposed to close.  Chief of Staff Taylor Riddle said Democrats could not vote for the first three hours of regular voting at the England Rec Center because machines were not set up and they had only Republican and non-partisan paper ballots. The Arkansas Supreme Court ultimately denied the party’s request so it filed a complaint with the State Board of Election Commissioners. Read More

Editorials: Paperless voting leaves South Carolina vulnerable | Greg Summers/The Lancaster News

South Carolina is one of only five states whose voting machines create no paper trail that could be used to reconstruct the balloting if hackers found a way to change votes in an election. The state has used its touch-screen system since 2004, when Congress spent $4 billion to upgrade systems across the country. That eliminated punch-card systems like the one plagued by “hanging chads” in the crucial Florida recount of the 2000 Bush-Gore race. Lancaster County Elections Director Mary Ann Hudson, whose office has 190 of the paperless machines, is concerned about the dated equipment. “I doubt any of us would wait that long to replace our personal smartphones and computers,” Hudson said. “When you have a system as old as ours, you have to start thinking about possible options.” In the wake of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential race, many states are upgrading their machines and electoral databases and adding cybersecurity measures to assure the integrity of the voting process. Read More

South Carolina: Voting machines seeing more problems with age | Go Upstate

Although elections officials say they’re seeing more failures with their 13-year-old touch-screen voting machines, it could be years before voters get to cast ballots on a new statewide system that’s estimated to cost at least $40 million. “South Carolina has been using the current system since 2004, and it’s reaching the end of its useful life,” said Chris Whitmire, a spokesman for the state Election Commission. “We are seeing more issues with machines, the most common of which is touchscreen failure.” He added: “While no votes are lost when that happens — and we can handle isolated failures — we have to take steps to ensure the viability of the system in the years to come.” Read More

Pennsylvania: Election director: Luzerne County voting machines showing their age | Times Leader

While they weren’t catastrophic, a few problems in last week’s election revealed Luzerne County’s voting machines are starting to show their age, county Election Director Marisa Crispell said. The county started using touch-screen electronic voting machines in the 2006 primary, or 11 years ago. “Technology is constantly moving forward,” Crispell said. “Many people change phones every two years and regularly update their laptops. These machines are no different.” One example she cited: The touch-screen capabilities froze on a few machines in the election last Tuesday. After officials verified no votes were cast on the machines, they were taken out of service, Crispell said. In Larksville, a back-up retrieval device had to be used to collect election data from voting machines because the device normally used to load ballots and extract results — called a personal election ballot, or PEB — failed, Crispell said. Result tallies for several machines also had to be printed at the county election bureau, as opposed to polling places, because a few hand-held printers were not working properly, she said. Read More