South Carolina voters get ‘first look’ at new voting system

Updated: Oct. 14, 2019 at 8:19 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - South Carolina spent more than $50 million replacing the state’s aging voting system.

State Election officials said so far so good for the new paper-based voting system in South Carolina.

Chris Whitmire with the State Election Commission (SEC) said the first use of the new voting system was on October 1st in Aiken County. "Poll managers were able to open the polling place and open the equipment on time. Voters found it very intuitive and were able to do it without much instruction," he said.

The paper based system uses a ballot marking device. To use that device you have to insert your paper ballot. You make your selections on a touch screen. After you make your selections, you print out your ballot.

The ballots show what selections you've made.

The ballot-marking device does not count any votes, officials said. You take your printed ballot and to a scanner and it reads the barcodes at the top of the ballot.

Whitmire said the paper trail makes elections more secure in the Palmetto State. "We have that paper record we can audit it to make sure it matches up with what was scanned."

The State Election Commission said before the Presidential Election in November 2020, the new system will be used a few times. "Each election we use the system in, we learn a little bit more," Whitmire said.

The next time the new system will be used in Tuesday, October 15, in York County for the City of Rock Hill municipal elections.

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