Legislative audit of voting machines reveals lack of paper trail

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - A legislative audit of South Carolina's voting machine system says there is no way for voters to have a paper verification of their ballots.

The Legislative Audit Council of the General Assembly released its Review of Voting Machines in South Carolina Wednesday.

Among its findings, the current voting machines used in South Carolina elections do not provide a paper ballot for voters to verify their votes, or provide a paper trail that can be counted or reviewed.  The report concluded it would take $17.3 million dollars to add some sort of paper verification to the state's voting system.

The report listed problems other states which use the same iVotronic  machines have experienced, including vote flipping, candidates missing from screens, lost votes or too many votes, freezing and batteries.

The review also concluded that state law should be changed to require post-election audits so that all votes are accounted for, precincts with problems can be identified, and detect machines that need repair. It recommends the audit be done before election results are certified.

Auditors also found that no county election commissioners and voter registration board members were removed or replaced when they failed to comply with certification and training requirements.  According to the report, "State law calls for removal by the Governor and the counties' legislative delegations must replace non-compliant members."

South Carolina has several options concerning its voting machines, according to the report.  Those options include: keep the current machines or add a voter-verified paper trail, begin steps to get new voting machines statewide, or approve different types of voting machines and have counties buy their own.