January 19th, 2008
11:15 AM ET
12 years ago

Voting machine problems reported in one South Carolina county

(CNN) - Poll workers in Horry County tell CNN voting machines have been down since polls opened Saturday morning throughout the county - the machines are not reading an activation card.

Workers have been giving out paper ballots but at least one precinct has run out of envelopes to seal them in (not a sign of turnout - they had just 23 such ballots on hand). Election workers say that officials have told them they are working precinct by precinct to fix the problem and that a few voting machines may now be running, but some voters have been turned away and asked to check back later.

Three poll workers also tell CNN the county has about 100 precincts and all have been affected. CNN is awaiting a call back from the county's election supervisor.

Horry County, which includes Myrtle Beach and North Myrtle Beach, was a John McCain stronghold in 2000 - he beat then Texas Gov. George Bush there by 2,500 votes.

- CNN's Lisa Desjardins

Filed under: South Carolina
soundoff (53 Responses)
  1. Concerned

    Here we go again voting machines down ? Just like all the
    emails missing from the white house............where is our
    honesty in this country anymore ? Is it with only one person...........

    Obama 2008

    January 19, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  2. Ron, TX

    Are these the Diebold machines?

    When will America start to catch on... voting should not be controlled by a private company who will not disclose how the machine works...

    And I'm not saying that as a Ron Paul fan, I'm saying that as a democrat.

    January 19, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  3. Karen

    I could be thinking of the wrong state, but wasn't it here that there was a push to decertify these machines as they had been decertified in other states and use paper ballots but they did not want to do this. It would be discouraging to have to wait for another count. I hope states keep enough paper ballots on hand to deal with these situations.

    January 19, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  4. Lorenz, Queens, NY

    I smell a rat

    January 19, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  5. chevyk

    I knew it! we can't trust our government to have a free and equal government! look at this, this precint could be a major factor in deciding the winner. the System is corrupt!

    January 19, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  6. Hanging Chad

    I am back!

    January 19, 2008 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  7. Jose Card - Independent

    Why weren't the voting machines tested in advance?

    January 19, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  8. Christian, Tampa FL

    Oh, great. And so it begins, the electronic death of democracy.

    January 19, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  9. Anonymous

    The voting machines may not be working, but it sounds like another machine is fully operational.

    January 19, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  10. Independent in IA

    Florida Foul-Up Wannabies. At least they won't cry "Hanging Chads".

    January 19, 2008 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  11. Christian

    What a suprise! Yet another state with electronic polling issues. Looks like this is going to be whom ever DIEMOLD machines prefers to win the election will win. The people of america are being setup again by special interest billionaires to sway the vote they way the see fit. Including most of the media that is biased and never gave equal time to some contenders from DAY ONE, and it continues, smack in the face of the people. Restore the republic, I am voting for Dr. Ron Paul, the only true guy with a great plan to help the people in this country. The others are all out for themselves and their selfish agenda that will never further the people or this country.

    January 19, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  12. Les

    Why they're not using paper ballot to begin with? Paper ballot is much better, easy to audit it when the outcome is questionable.

    I'm very fortunate, we are using absentee ballot, we have a record for our vote. I don't like voting machine especially when there's no way to audit it for discrepancy, it happened in Ohio in 2004.

    Our right to vote shouldn't be subverted to a machine that has no record how each voters cast their vote, no paper trail to speak of.

    January 19, 2008 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  13. Louis, New York

    Wonder how this will play out.
    I bet that it will all be a major HRC win now.

    Anyone but Hillary '08

    January 19, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  14. Diebold

    There is nothing wrong with the machines. The machines are working exactly as planned. Don't worry, no-bid contracts to foriegn companies will ensure the American elections will be free and fair... And if not- have faith the free and fair press will inform you.

    January 19, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  15. H.Clinton

    1-17-08: Ballot boxes found slit; NH stops putting ballots in vault;
    No worries, say New Hampshire officials when cuts up to eight inches long are spotted in newly delivered ballot boxes. "The only seal that counts is the one on top."

    Except the seal on top can be peeled off without leaving a trace, then reaffixed.

    Black Box Voting has been doing a chain of custody exam for the New Hampshire Primary's recount. On Wednesday night, Election Defense Alliance's Sally Castleman mentioned a troubling observation: After following the ballots back to the ballot vault following Wednesday's recount, she had the opportunity to enter the ballot vault, and noticed what looked like cuts, or slits, in the side of many ballot boxes. New Hampshire officials assured us that these cuts, which slice through the tape and seals do not permit access to the uncounted ballots, pointing to a label on the boxtop which they call a seal.

    But the "seal" can be removed, like a Post-it, and reaffixed. So it's not a seal all!

    We wanted to know if the ballot boxes were slit while in the vault, in the transport van, or came from the towns with slits in them.

    I confirmed this morning that many if not most of the boxes scheduled to be counted today had slits in them. I went out when a vanload of ballots arrived, and saw that they were slit at the time they arrived by van. Susan Pynchon and I drove to two nearby towns and watched as they handed over their ballot boxes to "Butch and Hoppy", the two men who drive around in the state in a van picking the ballots up. We observed as they loaded boxes of ballots into the van with no slits at all in them. We videotaped each of these up close. They arrived at the destination without slits. The label on the top was affixed, but in some cases was crumpled, or also damaged.

    Of cource, the label affixed to the top can be removed and reattached without telltale signs.

    No vault tonight

    A significant departure from the normal chain of custody path occurred tonight. They decided not to use the vault to store the ballots.

    More tomorrow. More

    January 19, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  16. California Larry

    Thank you Obama!!

    As a Republican moderate, Obama's comment had a real impact–not that he is a "closet Republican" (obviously to the left) but that he can see beyond labels and stereotypes and provide our country vision to see leadership rises above pat ideology. He can talk to everyone, not just his "core constituency". A lot of moderates and independents will respond well to that.

    A great leader like FDR, for example, can be recognized as great by even Republicans who may not have supported his programs at the time. Martin Luther King is respected by white southerners today, not because they agreed with his tactics, but they celebrate his impact on history and his peaceful means to do so.

    Leadership, vision, and hope are what make leaders right for the times they come along. I am very open to supporting Obama at this point if he continues to rise above traditional labels and, I must add, avoid playing the race card.

    January 19, 2008 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  17. Willy

    This voting machine problem can be fixed by not allowing unqualified voters to vote. Well that mean 99.9% of the democrat voters. Uh oooh....

    January 19, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  18. Reece Perkins

    More of a greater reason why colorado did away with the voting machines, the other 49 states should consider doing the same.
    We need fair and honest elections, the voting machines do not ensure an honest election.

    January 19, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  19. Clint Cooper

    People are being "turned away and asked to check back later." This is outrageous! The officials know darned well the people aren't going to "check back later." STOP ELECTRONIC VOTING NOW!

    January 19, 2008 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  20. Mario

    Willy, you are bad...lol.

    Yes, why weren't the machines tested before the elections.

    But leave it to CNN to tell us that there are problems of course.

    CNN doesn't like to see alot of the blogs against it and now are just leavingstories as Permalink where you can't blog the story, yup leave it to our wonderful media wants to try and control us...as usual.

    Go Mitt!

    January 19, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  21. MS

    Read – Ron Paul has a strong showing. CNN had to clarify that high turnout was not the problem!

    Anytime Ron Paul has a strong showing, either the caucus is cancelled, or machines malfunction.

    Now CNN doesn't want readers to know where the comments are coming from. Talk about censorship.

    January 19, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  22. pam Eugene OR

    Oh Lord, please not this again. I hope this can be resolved VERY soon and the machines in Nevada can be fixed also. I hate to see this as it casts a bad light on our voting system. It looks like we are some third world dictatorship with rigged elections.

    January 19, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  23. Stephen


    The machines were all tested in advance, that's my understanding of it. These things happen from time to time, usually when it's least convenient. I actually had to vote early because I attend a college which is some distance from my home and when I voted (on the machine at my county registration office) it worked perfectly fine. So I have confidence that they'll fix the machines and get everything back up and running with plenty of time for McCain to get votes in Myrtle Beach and ruin our country's future.

    January 19, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  24. Eric, Chicago,IL

    "Willy January 19, 2008 1:04 pm ET

    This voting machine problem can be fixed by not allowing unqualified voters to vote. Well that mean 99.9% of the democrat voters. Uh oooh…."

    It's a good thing the republican party has people like you so Bush can maintain his stunningly high 30% approval rating.

    January 19, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  25. dave

    Clinton will hit the ground running

    January 19, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
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