BY MATTHEW CHRISTIAN
FLORENCE, S.C. – Florence County Election Commission Executive Director David Alford said he was excited about the state’s implementation of a new voting system.
The state announced the award of a $51 million contract for a new statewide paper-based voting system on Monday to Election Systems and Software (ES&S) DS200ExpressVote system. The new machines will replace machines that have been in place since 2004.
In the new system, voters will electronically cast their ballots and at the end of the process be provided a paper copy that the voter can review to hand to a counter. The counter then scans a bar code on the paper copy to count the vote.
Alford, who attended a briefing on the new machines Thursday morning in Columbia, said the new system would provide a similar-type experience to voters in the ballot box but was technologically “leaps and bounds” ahead of the previous system.
He added that delivery of the new machines could begin as early as July. He said that was something that no one of the other potential vendors would likely have been able to do.
Alford said that if the new machines are delivered in July, Florence County may begin training on the new machines in time for several elections to be held in the fall.
According to the South Carolina Election Commission, the towns of Olanta, Scranton, Pamplico, and Timmonsville, the city of Johnsonville, and the Florence School Districts 4 (Timmonsville) and 5 (Johnsonville) have elections scheduled on Nov. 5.
Alford said the goal statewide is to have the new machines in place and ready to go for the state’s presidential preference primary to be held in late February 2020.
One potential problem Alford sees is the storage of the new machines. However, he said he felt the new machines could be stored in the county election commission’s garage but space would be tighter.