Report: South Carolina Election Security is “Vulnerable”

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – South Carolina is named as one of the 18 most vulnerable states when it comes to election security in a new report. The report, from the Committee on House Administration Democrats, suggests that South Carolina replace its paperless ballot machines with ones that provide a paper trail because, “It is nearly impossible to determine if paperless voting machines have been hacked and if vote tallies have been altered.”

America’s not alone. The 2017 Freedom of the Net report finds, “Online manipulation and disinformation tactics played an important role in elections in at least 18 countries over the past year, including the United States.”

“So we’re not the only ones experiencing this. This isn’t a partisan thing. This is, like, a global problem,” says cyber security expert and Fortalice Solutions founder and CEO, Theresa Payton. She works in the private sector now, based out of Charlotte, but served as Chief Information Officer under President George W. Bush.

Payton says there are now a couple things she is gravely concerned about. “And it actually does keep me up at night,” she says. Payton’s worried about voters giving up on the system, she urges them to keep voting. She says, “People died for our freedom, for our right to vote.”

And she’s worried about what’s next. As in, why stop at elections? What if countries like Russia start picking winners and losers in industry? She says “What if we ruin a company? Because we (a foreign adversary) sell oil, what if we ruin an American shale industry or company?”

Just last week, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said foreign adversaries, especially Russia, are working every day to penetrate America’s infrastructure systems, which includes elections. Coats said, “It was in the months prior to September 2001, when according to then CIA Director George Tenet, the system was blinking red. And here we are nearly two decades later, and I’m here to say the warning lights are blinking red again.”

Payton says, “When he (Coats) says there’s red blinking lights, I stop and pay attention to something like that, because they don’t peddle in fear mongering to get things done.”

Here’s what can you do: verify whatever you read on social media with trusted, credible news sources. Don’t join a group or event unless you vet the organization and the people behind it. And report suspicious online activity or emails to www.FTC.gov or www.IC3.gov.