Hays County to receive first new voting machines since 2004

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The Verity Duo machines that will be implemented in Texas by this November, as well as eight other states. Photo from Steven Sockwell, vice president of marketing for Hart InterCivic

Daniel Weeks

The Hays County Commissioners Court authorized a deal to acquire 400 new voting machines come election season.

The need for new and improved voting equipment has been a discussion for years; the current machines were implemented in 2004. The new machines are a combination of electronic and paper ballot techniques. A physical copy will be provided to voters upon use.

These hybrid machines were approved by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.

“A county must, among other requirements, use direct-recording electronic voting machines,” Paxton said. “Producing a marked paper ballot and including multiple pieces of equipment that operate together to effectuate direct voting does not disqualify the machine from use in a countywide polling place program.”

Hays County citizens have called for an update on voting machines since 2017 when over 1,500 votes were lost during November of that year. This erasure of votes may relate to the current setup turning inherently electronic.

Such mistrusts over wired voting technology getting “hacked” was addressed by Elections Administrator Jennifer Anderson.

“These machines are never connected to the internet, never networked,” Anderson said. “So any upgrades would have to go through the certification process again and be implemented that way.”

The hybrid nature of the new machines allows for the ability to reliably recount votes in times of error or challenge. Approximately $2 million were utilized in bringing in new machines; the Hays County courthouse is adamant on regaining the trust of voters questioning the current system.

Hays County Judge Ruben Becerra said he hopes for increased accuracy in the county’s election processes.

“We hope this purchase helps to restore confidence in the elections process and is the genesis to enriched unity of citizens in Hays County,” Becerra said. “We are working to ensure all votes are counted.”

The voting equipment is expected to be available for use November 2019. Any questions can be addressed to the Elections Office at [email protected]


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