SEC Statement on New Voting System Software Updates

COLUMBIA, SC (July 15, 2019) - The S.C. State Election Commission (SEC) is aware of recent reporting raising concerns over the fact the current version of ElectionWare runs on Windows 7, and Microsoft plans to discontinue general support of Windows 7 on January 14, 2020. South Carolina fully expects to be using a new version of ElectionWare that runs on Windows 10 for all elections in 2020.

The State of South Carolina recently procured a new paper-based voting system from Election Systems & Software (ES&S), which is being implemented in preparation for statewide use beginning January 1, 2020. The voting system consists of ExpressVote ballot-marking devices, ballot scanners/tabulators, and ElectionWare workstations, among other associated items. ElectionWare workstations are used to create ballots and to accumulate election results.

The fact that ElectionWare ran on Windows 7 was reviewed by cybersecurity experts during the voting system evaluation process and found not to be a concern. At the time, ES&S had already updated the software to Windows 10, and the update was making its way through the U.S. Election Assistance Commission’s (EAC) certification process. During negotiations and prior to contracting with the vendor, the SEC confirmed South Carolina would receive the update once certified by the EAC.

ES&S expects this new version to be certified in the Fall of this year. While the SEC does not anticipate any issues transitioning to Windows 10, the SEC has also been assured that Microsoft will continue to support ES&S customers using the Windows 7 version after the January 14 date.

The SEC takes cybersecurity seriously and employs all reasonable measures to secure South Carolina’s election infrastructure. Securing the state’s voting system has always been a priority and will continue to be as we transition to the new paper-based system. Along with audits of paper ballots, the SEC will build additional layers of security designed to harden the new system. By doing this we uphold the public’s trust and confidence in elections and ensure that in South Carolina, every vote matters and every vote counts.