Site Map
Voting News
Contact Us
About Us

is NOT!
associated with

County buying paperless machines
By Michael Wright   The Facts  September 14, 2005

ANGLETON ? The March primaries will bring electronic voting to Brazoria County but will eliminate paper trails that could be used in a recount.

Commissioners voted 4 to 1 Tuesday, with Pct. 1 Commissioner Donald ?Dude? Payne dissenting, to pay $1.9 million for 600 electronic voting machines from Hart InterCivic. Included in the deal is a provision that allows the county to attach a paper audit trail for no more than $1,250 more per screen if the state approves the company?s system.

The federal government will pay most of the initial cost, $1.5 million, but it will be up to the county to pay for an added paper trail, further down the line.

The machines would feature a dial voters turn until the candidate of their choice in a race is highlighted. Similar systems are in use in Harris and Bexar counties.

It was the lack of a paper trail that caused Payne to vote against the purchase.

?Why wouldn?t we want to go ahead and get a paper trail now?? Payne said.

The Texas Secretary of State?s office hasn?t certified a paper trail, County Judge Willy said, and he?s concerned if the county had purchased a machine with a paper trail now it could end up having to purchase all new machines, this time without federal aid.

Willy said he ultimately wants a paper trail for the county?s elections and the county has the money set aside from certificates of obligation issued in 2003 to pay for them.Even if the state makes a paper trail optional, Willy said, he will push to install one.

Critics urged commissioners to consider AccuPoll, a California-based company offering electronic machines with paper receipts, but current state law doesn?t allow those paper ballots to be used in a recount.

?There?s no use buying it,? Willy said. ?I am totally in favor of paper ballots.?

Pct. 4 Commissioner Jack Harris said he?s concerned that Hart only guarantees the $1,250 cost for two years.

With the federal government likely to leave more election law changes to the states, Harris worries that Texas lawmakers might not do anything until 2007, which would give the county little time to upgrade once the final specifications are released.

Assistant District Attorney Hank Prejean told commissioners he?s tried but failed to get an extension.

?We had initially asked them for six years,? Prejean said.

Democratic Party Chairwoman Kay Mudd supported the vote.

?I wish they had a paper trail, and I wish we could develop one,? Mudd said. ?But I think they?re easy to use, and I don?t hear any complaints from my Houston friends and they?ve been using them for a few years now.?

The machines will make their debut in the March 7 primaries.

Voters will have the chance to try out the machines in demonstrations during the Nov. 8 election, said Brazoria County Republican Chairwoman Yvonne Dewey, who supports the Hart machines.

?We?re talking about quite a few training sessions,? Dewey said.?There is a plan to start this fall, including on election day.?

Mudd said the Democrats will be working with the county election office as well.

?They want to have them out on exhibit for Nov. 8 and have somebody kind of show them how it will work,? Mudd said. ?There definitely will be training.?

Previous Page

Election Problem Log image
2004 to 2009


Accessibility Issues
Accessibility Issues

Cost Comparisons
Cost Comparisons

Flyers & Handouts

VotersUnite News Exclusives

Search by

Copyright © 2004-2010 VotersUnite!