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Election Commission pleased with new voting machines during November election

The November 5, 2019 election revealed the use of the new paper ballot voting machines. Overall, the SC Election Commission says things ran smoothly.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The South Carolina Election Commission says they were pleased with the new voting machines that were used on November 5th.

This was the first time that the new machines were used in the Midlands. There were two local elections in Aiken and York counties in October where the machines were used, but this was the first time the paper ballot machines were used statewide.

"The old system didn't have paper," says Chris Whitmire, with the SC Election Commission. "It was an electronic voting system, a direct record electronic voting system, that recorded votes electronically.Yea there was a results tape at the polling place but there was not a paper record of individual voters ballots that the voter looked at."

Whitmire says that paper ballot gives them the ability to audit results.

Overall, the Richland County Elections and Voter Registration interim director says the machines worked as intended, with no major issues.

"It was just a problem with voters not knowing what to do with the new system, but we got through it with minimal problems," says Terry Graham Sr. "So, I think it was a good day."

Because this was a smaller election, Whitmire says they treated it as a tune up for 2020, which will have significantly higher voter turnout. 

"You want to get your procedures and policies down tight so when you have a high turnout election, that's when those little things can turn into bigger things."

There will be a statewide Democratic Presidential Preference Primary on February 29th, along with the statewide primary in June and the presidential election in November.

"It was really important for us to use the new system on November 5th," says Whitmire. "It gives election officials, poll managers and voters that experience of using the system, prior to 2020."