The right to vote is the cornerstone of our democratic system of government, a fundamental guarantee that preserves all other rights. The right to vote depends on a system of election administration that provides all eligible voters with an effective opportunity to participate. At an irreducible minimum, this means ensuring that the machinery of democracy has the capacity to record and count each vote consistently, fairly, effectively, and accurately. The reliability of that basic element of democracy is under extraordinary stress across the country as election systems face threats posed by hackers, who may seek to gain unauthorized access to data or computer systems to mount cyberattacks aimed at manipulating, damaging, or destroying those systems. The problem is especially acute in South Carolina.
In South Carolina, the capacity of the state’s election system to record and count votes reliably is deeply compromised by the state’s unnecessarily vulnerable voting system. Throughout the state, elections are administered using a voting system—the iVotronic Direct Recording Electronic (“DRE”) system, manufactured by Election Systems & Software (“ES&S”)—that computer science experts have shown to be highly vulnerable to cyberattack and malware infections, which can occur whether or not the machine is directly connected to the internet.
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