Public invited to test new voting equipment
As November approaches, the Hays County Elections Office is busy preparing new voting equipment for the upcoming election.
This year when voters walk into polling places, they will see a new voting system: the Hart InterCivic Verity Duo system. The hybrid system combines touchscreen electronic voting and paper ballots, which provides a paper trail for post-election auditing.
Likewise, voters will be able to double-check their selections on a printed paper ballot before casting their vote. Hays County will receive 400 new voting machines, which will in turn be rented to other local jurisdictions during elections.
During a demonstration of the new voting machine, Hays County Elections Administrator Jennifer Anderson said that after a voter checks in with poll workers, they will be issued an access code along with a blank paper ballot. Then, the voter will approach their voting machine, enter the access code, enter their paper ballot into the machine and begin the voting process.
“They’ll hit the blue begin voting button and they’ll make their selections on the ballot,” Anderson said. “It has one contest per screen so they’ll be able to concentrate on that contest as they vote.” After making electronic selections, Anderson said voters will be able to scroll through electronically to check their selections before printing their record. Then voters will take their printed ballot, verify the selections again, and insert the ballot into a scanner.
“And then you insert that into the scanner and then when you see the flag you completed the vote,” she said.
Paper copies will remain inside a ballot box for recount purposes and post-election auditing, according to Anderson.
The Verity Duo machines offer a bilingual option, which allows voters to switch machines from English to Spanish. The paper ballot will likewise print in Spanish after the voter makes their selections.
“So you can change (the language) at any time during the voting process, so you would just hit the language (button) and then you would see that it would come up in Spanish,” Anderson said.
At each polling location, one machine will be ADA-accessible, according to Anderson. The ADA-accessible machines will offer sip-and-puff assistive technology, along with earphones.
“I’m going to have one (ADA-accessible machine) at each polling location and the reason for that is because I am actually going to wheel them out curbside,” Anderson said.
If community members are interested in testing out the new voting equipment before early voting begins, demo machines are available during business hours at each County Commissioner Precinct Office as well as the Elections Office at the Hays County Government Center — 712 S Stagecoach Trail.
“So if people in Hays County want to get out to their County Commissioner Precinct offices and take a look they can do that prior to, not only this election, but prior to the 2020 elections as well,” Anderson said.
The Hart InterCivic Verity Duo system are now available for residents testing in the lobby of the Dripping Springs Precinct 4 Office at 195 Roger Hanks Parkway, during normal business hours. The machines are tentatively scheduled to be there until primary elections in the spring.