So, Florida again. And other states. So many problems with election basics in a country where voting is at the fabric of our system.
Counting ballots days and days after the vote seems impossible in an era when technology is supposed to make voting a lot simpler and obtaining results faster. Something is not working.
In South Carolina on Nov. 6, there were problems. Bamberg County experienced them, along with other counties. No official explanation has been offered, but electronic ballot issues forced some counties to use paper ballots in some locations. Results were significantly delayed.
We must do better.
Toward that end, South Carolina lawmakers should move ahead in the coming session with funding the purchase of new voting machines.
In the 2018 session, the General Assembly turned down a request from the State Election Commission and Gov. Henry McMaster to expedite the replacement of the state's machines, providing $4 million of a $20 million request to move ahead on a project expected to cost about $50 million.
The machines are nearly 15 years old, having been purchased in 2004. Think about how much technology has changed since then. Beyond new measures to ensure security of the ballots, there is simply the need for new machines to get the system working as it should.
There is no reason that ballots cannot be cast via machines that perform with efficiency, with results being available in short order when the polls close.
As to the General Assembly making it happen, there is urgency if the state is to do better for the 2020 election.
Even if all of the funding is provided next year, the earliest South Carolina voters would have access to new machines – which would produce a paper trail of their votes -- would be the November 2020 general election, Chris Whitmire of the State Election Commission told The Post and Courier of Charleston. The state is unlikely to have the new machines in time for the 2020 presidential primaries or other contests before then.
Lawmakers in January will have their eyes on what to do with a budget surplus projected at $177 million before the windfall from a South Carolinian winning the record Mega Millions lottery jackpot in October. The surplus now could exceed $200 million.
Local lawmakers have expressed support for the money being used for one-time bonuses for state public school teachers. As much as it is hard to argue with that, pushing some of the money toward updating the voting system would be a wise use of dollars.
The integrity and security of the vote are vital.