Election Audits in South Carolina
County election commissions are responsible for conducting most elections in South Carolina. Municipal election commissions also conduct some municipal elections. The State Election Commission supports the conduct of all elections by providing guidance and training, voter registration system support, and voting system support. The State Election Commission is also responsible for certifying the results of elections for federal offices, statewide offices, state-level offices (Solicitor, State Senate, and State House of Representatives), other multi-county offices, and Constitutional Amendment Questions. Results of elections for other local offices are certified by the election commission charged with conducting that particular election.
All counties in the State of South Carolina use a uniform voting system manufactured by Election System and Software (ES&S). The system consists of both optical scan paper ballots and electronic ballots cast via iVotronic voting machines. Paper ballots are tabulated using an optical scanner, and results are loaded into the results tabulation software (Unity) using a memory stick or a Zip drive, depending on the model of scanner used. Electronic ballots are collected from iVotronic voting machines using memory devices known as Personal Electronic Ballots (PEBs) and loaded into Unity using a PEB reader.
Audit data featuring a record of every action taken on a voting machine is collected on stored on compact flash drives in each voting machine. The flash drives are collected from all voting machines, and the audit data is loaded into Unity.
Once all paper and electronic ballots and voting machine audit data are loaded into Unity, results reports and audit data are produced. Voting machine audit data along with audit data stored in Unity are then used to audit, or verify, the results. After the results are audited, the appropriate election commission (state, county, municipal) certifies the results, and the results become official.