South Carolina Moves to New Voting System

August 20, 2019 by Dan McCue
Voter gets assistance from a poll worker as early morning voters casted their ballots at Legion Park in the Upper Eastside neighborhood in Miami Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018. (Carl Juste/Miami Herald/TNS)

South Carolina will implement a $52 million upgrade of its voting system this fall, deploying a paper-based voting system in time for a special legislative election on Oct. 1 and municipal elections scheduled four weeks later.

Until now, South Carolina was one of a handful of states that did not provide voters with a paper ballot from which to choose their preferences.

Election officials accelerated their timetable for rolling out the new system after conferring with election security experts.

Under the new regime, voters will be given a blank piece of paper upon entering their respective polling places and asked to insert it into a ballot marking machine as soon as they are ready.

They’ll then use a touch screen, just as they have the past 15 years, to choose their preferences. After the touch screen allow them to review their choices, they will then press “print,” which prints their ballot onto the piece of paper.

The voter will then feed the paper into the scanner, which will tabulate their vote.

The printed paper will then fall into a locked box under the scanner to be used later in vote auditing.

The state originally planned to put the new system in place on Jan. 1, 2020, but after the initial set up went smoothly, it was decided to go ahead and use it to ensure any kinks are worked out before it is used for South Carolina’s presidential primary on Feb. 29, 2020.

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