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State election commission director satisfied with new voting machines' performance

Associated Press   27 November 2004


COLUMBIA, S.C. - New touch-screen voting machines are expected to be shipped next month to the state's remaining 31 counties.

State Election Commission Director Marci Andino said she was satisfied with their performance in 15 counties during the general election earlier this month. The few voting problems that occurred have allowed her to feel vindicated, she said.

"I feel very relieved that everything went smoothly here," Andino said. "The 2004 election came under the most scrutiny of any election I can remember. And all of our machines worked well, including the new ones."

About 1.6 million South Carolinians, or 70 percent of the state 's registered voters, went to the polls this year. Almost 900,000 voters in 15 counties used the state's new Ivotronic touch-screen voting system, a computerized voting machine that stirred controversy for Andino.

She was accused of steering a $37 million contract to Election Systems and Software, a Nebraska-based firm that Andino had been loosely connected to years before.

The allegations drew fire from state voter activists, who feared the machines would lead to mass voter fraud and perhaps even a stolen election. Those fears proved unfounded.

Investigations into Andino uncovered no wrongdoing, and the touch-screen machines, with few exceptions, worked perfectly.

This election also was under a microscope partly because problems with the 2000 election led directly to passage of the Help America Vote Act, signed by President Bush in 2002.


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