Thousands of Voting Machines Are Susceptible To Hackers and Are Unreliable, Lawsuit Claims

SUMTER, S.C. (WOLO)– A lawsuit against the states election commission claims thousands of voting machines are susceptible to Russian hackers and have “deep security flaws.” Former state senator Phil Leventis said it does not take a very sophisticated person to figure out how to hack these machines and the Elections Commission has known about these problems since 2013. He’s filed a lawsuit along with Frank Heindel because they believe nothing has been done about it.

Voter security became a top priority after rumors of Russia meddling in the last general election. That’s one of the reasons former Sumter senator Phil Leventis and Frank Heindel filed a lawsuit demanding action from the Elections Commission.

“The worst thing that can happen in any democratic society is for the public to lose confidence in the elections. If they lose confidence in the elections then they have no confidence in the system,” Leventis said. The voting technology they use now is called iVotronic. Leventis cited multiple studies by the federal government, national guard, and even the state’s legislative audit council which found the machines were subject to failures. The lawsuit demands new machines that have paper backup systems and are more secure from hackers.

“You punch the button and it tells you how many voted and how they voted, and you have to take it on it’s word. And the software on the machines are proprietary, so there’s no way to check it,” Leventis said.

The Election Commission’s executive director Marci Andino sent a statement saying: 

“I have not seen the lawsuit and cannot comment on pending litigation; however, here’s our position on the statewide voting system. The State Election Commission is continuing to work with the General Assembly to obtain funding to replace the statewide voting system.  Until funding is obtained, we will continue to use our current voting system.  However, what’s important is that we continue taking all reasonable measures to secure the state’s election infrastructure in preparation for the 2018 General Election and beyond.  No system is ever 100% secure, and we must continue to improve and address changes in the election security environment and the emergence of new technologies and threats.  We are continuing to work with our state, federal and private partners to meet these challenges and to harden our security posture.  South Carolina will be replacing its voting system in coming years, and we look forward to advancements in technology that lead to the state having an even more secure voting system in the future.”

Andino, who wants to replace the current machines by the 2020 presidential election, but Leventis says the honor of the local elections is in jeopardy. Even in the June primary elections, machines in Greenville, Horry, Marlboro and Florence counties failed.

“If you’ve ever looked into the election process it’s extremely complex and demanding. I’m not saying it’s simple and I’m not saying the current officials aren’t trying very very hard. But the technology is inappropriate now. Doesn’t work, never did in a way that we can verify that it did,” Leventis said.


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