Horry County prepares to receive new voting machines

Updated: Aug. 28, 2019 at 6:38 PM EDT
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HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - For the first time in 15 years, Horry County’s voting system is getting an overhaul.

The Voters Registration and Elections Department is preparing to trade in its old voting machines for new ones as part of a statewide change.

Hundreds of old voting machines are sitting ready to be shipped off. In a massive undertaking, more than 700 of the county’s aging machines will be replaced by 964 new ones that are paper-based and more reliable.

“This system is supposed to be more secure and more auditable since it is a paper-based system," said Sandy Martin, director of Horry County Voters Registration and Elections.

With the new equipment, voters will fill out their ballot on a touchscreen. The machine will then print a paper ballot which you’ll place into a scanner to be counted, leaving behind a paper trail of every vote in a secure ballot box.

“It is real similar to the way we’ve been voting for the last 15 years. The only difference is you will insert a card. it will print your selections and you’ll be able to look at them," said Martin.

The new system is more transparent and aims to assure voters their ballots are being counted correctly.

County election officials said the new machines will make their debut during the upcoming city elections in November, giving them just around two months to prepare and re-train each poll worker.

“Various parts of the county will be using them so that will give us a good indication as to how it will go for general elections or primary, county-wide elections," said Martin.

Martin said the county is currently looking for more poll workers. She said some poll workers may not want to step in and learn a new system, and they’re always in need of volunteers to man the precincts.

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