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.
The plaintiffs are Frank Heindel, a commodities trader and election security advocate, and Phil Leventis, a former senator in the state legislature who opposed the the state’s adoption of the machines South Carolina currently uses.
South Carolina is one of five states that for years have exclusively used direct-recording electronic (DRE) voting machines. DREs do not produce a paper record in order for voters to verify that their selections are counted properly. Without such a paper trail, security experts warn that there’s no way to truly audit an election if hackers were to mess with the machines. Lawmakers have also been increasingly pressing for a departure from paperless machines.