Richland Democrat Rep. James Smith formally kicked off his gubernatorial campaign Tuesday in downtown Columbia. Smith, 50, is a Columbia native who has served in the South...
Voting Data Remains Secure, SC Election Commission
South Carolina Election Commission Director Marci Andino told commissioners at their monthly meeting Wednesday that reports of 150,000 attempts to access the state voter database last November was overblown.
“Those were not Russian hackers attempting to get access to the system,” Andino said. “The hits come from various different sources and a lot of that could be bots or just bad traffic, so we wanted to make it clear that that was not attempts to hack the system.”
Andino said data security remains a top priority at the agency, especially after Russian hackers attempted to alter election data in 39 states, according to Bloomberg. Staffers are undergoing security training by federal officials and the scvotes.org website is evaluated continuously for vulnerabilities.
“We have no evidence that our system has been hacked by anyone,” Andino said.
The agency will not be sending publicly available voting data to the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, as requested, Andino said. South Carolina is prohibited from sending the data, according to the state attorney general.
The state Republican Party—which like the Democratic Party routinely purchases the data—said it will buy the data and sent it to the commission when it is able to receive it.
The presidential commission, led by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, asked states for voting data that includes partial Social Security numbers, addresses, political part affiliations and felony records. The stated mission is to root out potential fraudulent voters that President Donald Trump said voted illegally in the 2016 election.
There were no reports of suspicious voting activity or fraudulent votes cast in the 2016 election in South Carolina.
Public voting data, available for purchase, only lists names, addresses, voting history and dates of birth. Since receiving the letter, earlier this month, Andino said there has been an outpouring from concerned voters—some even unregistered.
“We also received phone calls from hundreds of voters who are concerned about the release of their data,” Andino said. “The data that we sell, to any registered voter, does not contain Social Security numbers.”
Voters that unregister does not remove voter from previous elections that is already on state rolls.