State legislation could better protect each vote in next election

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ANDERSON, SC (WSPA) – Lawmakers in Columbia are working to pass legislation that would make sure votes more secure in the 2020 election starting with new voting machines. 

“It’s old, it’s reached the end of it’s expected useful life and moving forward with it puts elections at risk,” said Chris Whitmore with the SC Election Commission.

That’s why the SC Election Commission is requesting $60 million in the state budget to replace the technology.

“It’s old and it’s missing this key security feature that we would like to add to it to make our elections more secure,” Whitmore said.

The key feature is paper records of each vote cast, something South Carolina does not have in place at all.

“These things are not machines they are computers, then you have the issues all the things that can go wrong with programs like bugs and hacks,” said Matthew Saltzman who is a Clemson University Associate Professor of Mathematical Statistical Sciences.

So to make your vote more secure, two bills in the legislature as well as the Election Commission are hoping to implement this change.
There are two options for the records, one being a computer that prints the ballot then scans it or hand marked ballots.

“In elections that are likely to be close and we saw plenty of those in 2018 that’s where we need to be able to say that the process worked,” Saltzman said.

While estimates show the hand marked ballot systems would be cheaper, the SC Election Commission is focusing on just gettng the funding to replace the systems and get paper records before the 2020 election.
 

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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