South Carolina Democratic Primary — Will The Voting Machines Work This Time?

In last week’s Republican primary in South Carolina, two counties (Florence and Horry) experienced problems with their voting machines, and the problems were relatively severe in Horry, where it took a few days for election officials to figure out the results of the election.

There’s an interesting story that I ran across from, that details some details of the problems in Horry County, and what the election officials there are doing to make sure they don’t have the same problems in tomorrow’s Democratic primary:

Last week county election Director Sandy Martin came under fire after the county’s election totals took nearly two days to come out
Martin said the troubles last week shouldn’t be a problem this week, “We have went back and reprogrammed all 360 of the voting machines that we’re going to send out,” Martin told News13.

“We’ve started from scratch, we got a new database from Columbia, they’ve assured us that the date is correct this time, so the machines will close out, which was not our fault and that compounded the first problem we had,” Martin said.

The county mistakenly failed to clear out test votes in some of the machines during test voting officials performed on the machines before the Republican primary.

“We didn’t find any at this time; we personally went to the warehouse this time and assisted the state in programming them,” Martin said.

Martin said even though election officials have full confidence in the voting machines, paper ballots will remain a polling place staple.

“When you’re working with machines you can never make guarantees, but we’ve done everything possible we can do to make them work perfectly this time,” Martin said.

Martin said she placed 360 of the county’s 613 voting machines out for the primary.

Election officials have nearly 400 people working the polls and handling supplies this weekend.

It’ll be interesting to see how smoothly things go tomorrow in South Carolina, as this is a critical primary for Senator Barack Obama, the campaigning there has been intense, and because turnout might be brisk.