* The information provided below is compiled from various independent organizations working on election defense. US BASE cannot verify the accuracy of all data. Additionally we cannot vet every state or local organization working on election defense.
South Carolina Technology in Use
Verified Voting Foundation
* Note that "Paper Ballot" in the map below typically designates paper ballots counted by an electronic scanning device.
Center for American Progress State by State Voting System Report
See State Grade Below
"In August 2017, the Center for American Progress released a report entitled “9 Solutions for Securing America’s Elections,” laying out nine vulnerabilities in election infrastructure and solutions to help improve election security in time for the 2018 and 2020 elections. This report builds on that analysis to provide an overview of election security and preparedness in each state, looking specifically at state requirements and practices related to:
1. Minimum cybersecurity standards for voter registration systems
2. Voter-verified paper ballots
3. Post-election audits that test election results
4. Ballot accounting and reconciliation
5. Return of voted paper absentee ballots
6. Voting machine certification requirements
7. Pre-election logic and accuracy testing
This report provides an overview of state compliance with baseline standards to protect their elections from hacking and machine malfunction. Some experts may contend that additional standards, beyond those mentioned here, should be required of states to improve election security. The chief purpose of this report is to provide information on how states are faring in meeting even the minimum standards necessary to help secure their elections.
It is important to note at the outset that this report is not meant to be comprehen- sive of all practices that touch on issues of election security. We recognize that local jurisdictions sometimes have different or supplemental requirements and proce- dures from those required by the state. However, this report only considers state requirements reflected in statutes and regulations and does not include the more granular—and voluminous—information on more localized practices. Furthermore, this report does not address specific information technology (IT) requirements for voting machine hardware, software, or the design of pre-election testing ballots and system programming. And while we consider some minimum cybersecurity best practices, we do not analyze specific cyberinfrastructure or system programming requirements. These technical standards and protocols deserve analysis by computer scientists and IT professionals who have the necessary expertise to adequately assess the sufficiency of state requirements in those specialized areas."
South Carolina: D
South Carolina adheres to recommended minimum cybersecurity best practices related to voter registration systems. But the state allows voting using machines that do not provide a paper record, which prevents it from carrying out post-election audits that test the accuracy of election results. South Carolina also allows voters stationed or living overseas to return voted ballots electronically, a practice that election security experts say is notoriously insecure. The state did earn points for its ballot accounting and reconciliation procedures and for requiring that all voting machines be tested to EAC Voluntary Voting System Guidelines. Additionally, South Carolina requires election officials to carry out pre-election logic and accuracy testing on all machines that will be used in an upcoming election.
The state’s use of machines that do not provide a paper record and its lack of robust post-election audits leaves South Carolina open to undetected hacking and other Election Day problems. To protect its elections from sophisticated nation-states, South Carolina should switch over to a paper ballot voting system and enact laws requiring robust post-election audits that test the accuracy of election outcomes. In doing so, the state should look to risk-limiting audits like those in Colorado as a potential model. South Carolina should also prohibit voters stationed or living overseas from returning voted ballots electronically. Given the threat posed by those seeking to interfere in U.S. elections, all voted ballots should be returned by mail or delivered in person to protect against manipulation and maintain voter privacy.
Minimum cybersecurity standards for voter registration system: Good
The state’s voter registration system was put into place in 2011.
The state’s voter registration system provides access control to ensure that only authorized personnel have access to the database.
The state’s voter registration system has logging capabilities to track modifications to the database.
The state’s voter registration system includes an intrusion detection system that monitors incoming and outgoing traffic for irregularities.
The state performs regular vulnerability assessments and penetration testing on its voter registration system.
The state has enlisted both the National Guard and DHS to help assess and identify potential threats to its voter registration system.
The state provides cybersecurity training to election officials at the state and county level. County election directors attend a mandatory security meeting annually and receive routine security briefings on an ongoing basis.
• Electronic poll books are used by some, but not all, jurisdictions in the state.1319 The state conducts pre-election testing on electronic poll books prior to an election. Paper voter registration lists are available at polling places that use electronic poll books on Election Day.
Voter-verified paper audit trail: Unsatisfactory
Elections are carried out using paperless DRE machines.
Post-election audits: Unsatisfactory
South Carolina’s use of paperless DRE machines prevents it from carrying out audits that can confirm the accuracy of election outcomes. Instead, after an election, South Carolina conducts two separate tests at the county and state level prior to certification that check to ensure that all ballots have been counted as part of the tabulation process. According to the South Carolina’s Election Commission website: “The audit process compares the tabulated results of the election with the raw data collected in the electronic audit files by each iVotronic voting machine on a flash card. The State Election Commission has developed a series of computer applications written in the public domain language … that compares the tabulated returns reports with the raw audit data. If the audit application detects an anomaly it lists it in one or more audit report.” Provisional and vote by mail “paper ballots are tabulated using an optical scanner, and results are loaded into the results tabulation software using a memory stick or Zip drive.”
Ballot accounting and reconciliation: Fair
Ballots are fully accounted for at the precinct level.
Precincts are required to compare and reconcile the number of ballots with the number of voters who signed in at the polling place.
Counties are required to compare and reconcile precinct totals with countywide results to ensure that they add up to the correct amount.
Counties are required to review and ensure that all voting machine memory cards have been properly loaded onto the tally server.
The state requires that all election results and ballot reconciliation information be made public.
Paper absentee ballots: Unsatisfactory
The state permits UOCAVA voters to submit completed ballots electronically via fax or email.
Voting machine certification requirements: Fair
Before being purchased and used for any election in the state, all voting machines must be tested to federal standards and undergo testing by a federally accredited laboratory.
It has been reported that jurisdictions in South Carolina still use voting machines that were purchased more than a decade ago.
Pre-election logic and accuracy testing: Fair
Election officials conduct mandatory logic and accuracy testing on all voting machines prior to an election.
Testing is open to the public.
State law requires that testing be carried out at least three days prior to an election. In practice, testing is carried out approximately 60 days in advance.