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Voting Machine Costs in South Carolina

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South Carolina’s touch-screen voting machines do not have voter-verified paper audit trails, and adding them would cost the state more than $17 million, found a report released by the South Carolina General Assembly Legislative Audit Council. Glenn McConnell, then president pro tempore of the state Senate, who had concerns about the reliability of the machines and the lack of a paper trail, requested the audit in 2012.

The paper audit trails allow voters to see their vote recorded on paper as they are casting it electronically on a touch-screen machine. This paper can also be used in recounts and post-election audits. South Carolina is one of six states that use electronic voting machines statewide but don’t generate such a paper trail.

The state purchased its approximately 12,000 voting machines in 2004 and 2005 for nearly $35 million.

South Carolina’s 46 counties are responsible for maintenance and upkeep of the machines. Among the 29 counties that responded to a survey, the Legislative Audit Council found that they spend on average $23,000 annually to maintain the machines.