State of security: South Carolina

Who's in charge: Executive Director of the S.C. State Election Commission Marci Andino

The state’s 13,000 voting machines are old, no doubt, but officials believe they have at least one more election in them, according to a report in the Greenville News.

But University of South Carolina Computer Science and Engineering Professor Duncan Buell said that given the vulnerabilities he’s found in the last eight years the state is engaged in “entirely faith-based reporting,” the report said.

And the election commission said last year that almost 150,000 attempts to access the state’s voter registration system on Election Day 2016 were spurned by a firewall. A July lawsuit aimed at the commission pointed to vulnerabilities in the voting machines used by South Carolina, saying they are made worse “by the varying cybersecurity practices employed in each county" and could allow hackers to “cause large-scale disruption by attacking one or more counties, potentially creating distrust and confusion that could affect the entire state.”

South Carolina is one of five states that uses paperless voting machines but plans to use its more than $6 million in federal funding and part of its own $177 million surplus to replace its machines before 2020 rolls around – for an estimated cost of $60 million.

On the plus side, neither voting or tabulation machines are connected to the internet, storage is secured and data is encrypted. More than two years ago, South Carolina hired a security firm to do a risk assessment of its voting system.

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