Demonstration ballot (copy)

Chris Whitmire, spokesman for the SC Election Commission, shows a demonstration ballot printed by the touchscreen device that will be used on paper ballots. Mike Fitts/Staff

The League of Women Voters of the Columbia Area, libraries in Richland and Lexington counties, and voter registration offices in Richland and Lexington are in the midst of having demonstrations of the state's new voting system this week.

According to the LWV, demonstrations are taking place Oct. 30 from 10 a.m. to noon at the main branch of the Richland Library and Oct. 31 from noon to 2 p.m. at the Richland Library Eastover.

South Carolina had been among a small handful of states that had no paper trail for voting. Earlier this year, the state announced it would be rolling out a new $51 million voting system to replace the 13,000 aging digital systems South Carolina had been using for more than a decade.

Voting on the new system will be a multi-step process. Voters will receive a blank ballot card. They will then take that card and insert it into a digital touchscreen device. Voters will make their selections on the screen and, after reviewing them, hit “print card.”

At that point, the paper ballot card will emerge from the machine, with the voter’s selections — as well as a bar code — printed on it. Voters can then review their selections on the paper.

Then voters will proceed to another machine, where they will insert the ballot card. That machine will process the votes, and store the ballot cards in a bin. The bins will be locked and delivered back to county elections headquarters at the end of the night.

The new system will get its first widespread use during Nov. 5 municipal elections across the state.

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