How to Vote 

Pay attention and use your fingers

Say 'Hello' to your friendly neighborhood iVotronic voting machine.

Jonathan Boncek

Say 'Hello' to your friendly neighborhood iVotronic voting machine.

Regardless of whether you're a first-time voter or if you still have your I Like Ike pins, you may be unfamiliar with the ins and outs of an iVotronic machine, the touchscreen voting machines that the State Election Commission installed in South Carolina in 2004. Charleston County's been using them since 2005, and Joseph L. Debney, the executive director of its Board of Elections and Voting Registration, gave us a rundown on how to use one. Familiarize yourself with our guide, and you'll save time on Election Day for you — and for all the enfranchised citizens in line behind you.

1. Check out sample ballots on vote.charlestoncounty.org ahead of time so that you know what to expect before you get to the machine.

2. When you arrive at the polling location, check in with a voter registration card, a S.C. driver's license, or a S.C. photo ID issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles. A federal court ruled recently that you will never have to show a photo ID to vote if you have your registration card.

3. The first thing that pops up on the electronic voting machine is an instruction screen, which tells the voter how to work the iVotronic. At any time during the voting process, a question mark at the bottom of the screen will take the voter back to this page.

4. Decide whether you want to vote a straight-party ticket, which, contrary to an internet hoax, includes the presidential ballot. You don't have to go back and select your presidential candidate — doing so would actually remove your vote.

5. If you select a straight-party Republican ballot but have a last-minute change of heart and want to vote for Barack Obama instead, you can easily edit that selection. Doing so won't change any of the other Republican selections.

6. If you don't want to cast a vote for a specific race, like the U.S. House of Representatives District 1, you don't have to. No one will ever know.

7. You can also write in your own name for any election, or even Darth Vader's if you think he'd do a better job than the incumbent Tim Scott.

8. Check your ballot on the review screen. It can't be cast until you have. If you want to go back and change any of your votes, you can. Just select the specific race and re-vote.

9. You will know when you are finally ready to cast your ballot when a light at the top of the machine starts blinking, or when the machine prompts you on the screen.

10. Fake out: In some cases, there's still one more confirmation screen even after the light starts blinking, which will let you know if your ballot is incomplete. If not, or if you're OK skipping out on voting for or against Amendment 1, you can move forward and cast you ballot for real this time.

11. At this point, there's no undo button on the touchscreen. "Unfortunately, once you have cast your ballot, you've cast your ballot," Regley says. "We can't go back and get it because there's no way for this machine to tie that vote to you, and that's by design."

12. Now go home, watch the results, and curse the electoral college.


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