Election officials working to address privacy concerns with new voting system prior to 2020 election

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CHARLESTON S.C. (WCBD)— The new, statewide voting system eliminates booths and uses privacy screens instead.

However, some feel like this new set-up exposes their ballots to other voters.

State election officials say that how the new voting machines are arranged is crucial to maximizing privacy.

For the next election they recommend polling precincts:

-Space out the machines as much as possible

-Do not place the machines facing out from the wall

-Make sure the kickstands are at the lowest angle

 -They also recommend that poll managers keep a distance from voters who are at the machines  

The Director of Public Information of the State Election Commission, Chris Whitmire, says “One practice that has to be done differently with the new system is the layout of the polling place and positioning of the ballot-marking devices.  The ballot-marking devices are designed to sit lower than the old voting machines.  This is a good thing.  It allows every device to be accessible to all voters, including those in wheelchairs.  However, because the device sits lower, more care has to be taken in arranging the equipment to maximize voter privacy”.

Charleston county election officials say are working with the state to increase privacy.

“Any concern from a voter, we always take seriously, and we want to make sure that the privacy of their ballot is maintained. It’s going to require talking to the state election commission since they’re the entity that purchased these machines and asking them are there other ways or different things we can think of that could possibly increase the security for our voters,” The executive director of the Charleston County Board of Elections, Joseph Debney said.

The Charleston County Board of Elections plans to discuss these issues when they meet tonight at 6:30 in North Charleston.

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