BEAUFORT, S.C. (WSAV) – With South Carolina’s Democratic presidential primary just 25 days away and technical issues that overshadowed results from the Iowa caucuses, some local voters may be concerned about the upcoming election process.
But officials with the Board of Voter Registration and Elections of Beaufort County tell News 3 what happened in Iowa won’t happen here.
“I think South Carolina has been practicing this since the last election, so I think South Carolina is prepared,” said Marie Smalls, board director.
On Tuesday, the board held an informational session at the Bluffton Library for voters who want to learn more about the new system of voting in Beaufort County.
Smalls explained that they have a paper verified trail so ballots are being cast both electronically and on paper. Voters can review their ballots on paper or on-screen.
The board has enough paper ballots to cover every registered voter in the county, meaning if there is evidence to back up a vote if there is any question about it.
“Its a two-step process now,” Smalls said. “We have what is called a ballot marking device. There are no votes on the ballot marking device, that device is only used to record the actual ballots.”
“You’re giving them another level of security that their ballot has been verified by them and cast by them,” she added.
Smalls says the Palmetto State election is different than Iowa. In a caucus, voters are in an open forum and can try to sway others to their side.
In South Carolina, it’s private — one person, one vote.
But the election board wants to ensure voters are informed about the process before they cast their ballots. There will be two more informational sessions in the county before the election on Saturday, Feb. 29:
- Magnolia Hall (118 Sun City Ln.) | Thursday, Feb. 6 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. | Sun City residents only
- St. Luke’s Church Fellowship Hall (60 Pope Ave.) | Monday, Feb. 10 from 6:30 to 8 p.m.
“We are open to the public there is nothing we want to hide,” said Smalls. “This is an open process and we want voters in Beaufort County to know this is an open process.”