As a result of the controversy surrounding the 2000 Presidential Election the Federal Government adopted the Help America Vote Act of 2002. As part of South Carolina’s compliance with HAVA, the State’s HAVA Advisory Committee recommended the adoption of a uniform statewide voting system.

The State of South Carolina currently uses seven (7) different types of voting equipment in its 46 counties. There are 24 counties with five (5) different brands of direct record electronic (DRE) machines; 10 counties utilizing punch cards and 12 counties on a mark sense optical scan system. Additionally, there are a number of dissimilar absentee systems in use.

The South Carolina SEC has continually sought ways to improve the election process and to maintain its integrity, as reflected in recent major SEC initiatives such as the 1999 Statewide Election Summit and the 2001 Governor’s Task Force on Elections. These statewide initiatives identified, among other priorities, a need to establish a statewide voting system.

The South Carolina State Plan for implementing the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA), developed with the valuable help of the HAVA State Plan Task Force, establishes a framework for achieving compliance with HAVA. This plan further emphasizes the importance of implementing a uniform statewide electronic voting system, and of achieving additional strategic objectives including: a) support for disabled voters in every precinct in the State; and b) training for voters, poll workers, and election officials.

The DRE voting system was chosen because it is the most accurate and accessible voting system on the market today. With a DRE voting system, there are no questions of voter intent. A voter cannot vote for more than one candidate for an office, all voters – including blind and visually impaired voters – are able to vote a secret ballot, and the ballots can be easily translated into multiple languages to comply with federal minority language requirements. The technology used in DRE voting systems is the same technology used for electronic banking at ATMs, has been tested by independent testing authorities and by states across the country, and has a proven record of accuracy and security.

After a lengthy and extensive evaluation process, State Election Commission selected the ES&S iVotronic DRE voting system. ES&S, Inc., is a leading supplier of voting system technologies. The ES&S iVotronic voting system is a touch screen system, meaning that the voter touches the screen to select the candidate of his or her choice. The voter has the opportunity to review his or her choices before casting a ballot and using a headset and keypad, blind voters or voters with visual impairments can cast a secret ballot for the first time.

On October 29, 2002, President Bush signed the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA). This landmark legislation requires each state to have, by January 1, 2006, a minimum of one voting system in each polling place that is accessible for voters with disabilities. To date, the DRE voting system is the only certified voting system that is accessible for voters with disabilities.

The voting process has never been easier with the state-of-the-art iVotronic voting system.