What’s up with South Carolina’s Voting Machines? The latest comes from an article by Bristow Marchant writing for The State:
In the last election, some votes in South Carolina got counted twice. Others were credited to the wrong candidate. Also, one observer thinks, the state’s 14-year-old voting machines are starting to show their age, producing other errors. Those are some of the conclusions in a report released last week by the League of Women Voters of South Carolina.
The state’s election commission is looking into the complaints set out by the League of Women Voters as they prepare to select a new voting system in a process already underway. But as Marchant pointed out in his article:
The Election Commission doesn’t dispute the errors reported. But, it says, most of the problems cited are the result of human error, not problems with the election system. “After a deeper investigation, taking into account the full process, almost all of them are due to some missing knowledge on the part of the user,” said Election Commission spokesman Chris Whitmire.
Even seeming errors in how the machines operated “are either an error in setting up the machines or in how the results were processed,” Whitmire said. “When it’s operated correctly, the system works,” he said.
An analysis of South Carolina’s voting technology shows continued software deficiencies in the Election Systems and Security (ES&S) technology used in the state. Dr. Duncan Buell has been analyzing South Carolina election data since 2010 on behalf of the League of Women Voters of South Carolina and more generally the citizens of South Carolina. His analysis of the 6 November 2018 General Election is now available in a report on-line at www.lwvsc.org.
The study shows continued software deficiencies in the Election Systems and Security (ES&S) voting systems used in the state, leading to significant errors that can damage election integrity and voter confidence. The problems that have been detected with the voting computers are the responsibility of the manufacturer, not the SC State Elections Commission, which has upgraded the computers as instructed by the manufacturer.
The voting computers used in South Carolina have miscounted the vote in recent elections. Although the manufacturer has recently upgraded the software, Buell found that several hundred votes were miscounted in the 12 June First Primary and the November 2018 General Elections. These discoveries highlight the problem of using computers for elections when there is no backup capability and insufficient enforcement of computer related technical standards.