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New SC voting machines 

Will be implemented statewide by 2020 

SOUTH CAROLINA—The current voting system used in South Carolina was implemented in 2004 and had a 15-year expected life span. Spartanburg County had experienced difficulties with nearly 700 of the touch-screen voting machines across the 98 precincts in the county. Over the years public complaints about the faulty and difficulty of use of the touch screen systems reached county officials. The issues with the 2004 system were not limited to Spartanburg County, there were complaints from across the state that felt that the touch screen system was to hard to use. 

The State Election Commission has agreed to spend $51 million on new voting machines that will replace the old system. The new system is expected to be fully operational across the state by January of 2020, but many South Carolina residents may get to use the new system sooner as part of local municipal elections.  

The Electin Systems and Software, ExpressVote system will replace the 2004 system. ExpressVote still uses a touch screen to record votes, but also creates a paper trail. The ExpressVote is a ballot-marking device that helps voters to mark a paper ballot more efficiently and accuratelyVoters will be presented with their choices on a screen in a similar manner to the current system, but instead of saving the voters choices, the system will mark the voters choices and prints them onto a paper ballot that is then either hand counted or counted using computer software and scanners. 

Voters will still present a photo ID, confirm their address, and sign the poll list as normal before voting. After presenting the appropriate information, voters will be given a blank ballot and be directed to an ExpressVote machine. The ballot is inserted, selections are made, and then the completed ballot is printed and given to the voter so that it can be reviewed and double checked before placing it into the ballot scanner. Once the ballot is placed in the scanner it is automatically feed into a locked ballot box so that they can be used to verify and audit election results should the need arise. 

The South Carolina State Election Committee stated that they do not currently have the equipment to begin giving demonstrations. State and County election officials will offer demonstrations once that equipment is available. To stay up to date on the newest information and future demonstration locations visit, https://www.scvotes.org/new-voting-system-faqs.  

By Samuel Robinson