The South Carolina Election Commission is preparing for potential security threats ahead of November’s election.
“The State Election Commission recognizes the threat,” commission spokesman Chris Whitmire said. “We work with our federal and state partners to ensure we’re taking all reasonable measures to protect the state’s election infrastructure.”
Earlier this month, the commission offered a workshop for county election office employees that included presentations from security and intelligence experts from the Department of Homeland Security, FBI, Elections Infrastructure Information Sharing and Analysis Center, Department of Administration, SLED and private security vendors.
“We’re making sure we protect our election infrastructure from any threat, whether it’s the other side of the world or down the street,” Whitmire said. “[We’ll] take every measure we can to protect our system from threats regardless of where they’re coming from.”
Whitmire said election security threats could come from anywhere and from a variety of motivations such as hostile nations, terrorists or hackers. He said the Election Commission has its own security team.
“The team is filled with people who are experts in their field on cybersecurity, on intelligence and law enforcement,” he said. “We follow the advice we receive and make sure that any vulnerabilities that are identified, that we’re remediating those.”
Election representatives also got to see demonstrations at the workshop, as well as pitches from companies which make voting systems. Whitmire said the Election Commission plans to replace the state’s voting machines in 2019, which could cost as much as $50 million. The commission currently has $15 million allocated for the new system and is working to secure the rest from the state legislature.
Among the vendors attending were Clear Ballot, Dominion Voting Systems, Election Systems & Software, and Hart InterCivic.