Thursday, July 6, 2017

Why one of the largest counties in Texas is going back to paper ballots

Frank Phillips spent last Wednesday staring down 600 boxes of election materials — voted ballots, blank ballots, precinct records — sitting in a warehouse run by Denton County. After sitting in storage for the legally required periods — up to nearly two years in some cases — the roughly 24,000 pounds of paper were finally ready to be shredded. Yet despite the hassle — and the significant cost — Phillips, Denton County’s elections administrator, is looking forward to this fall, when he will implement the county’s newest voting plan: a complete return to the paper ballot. The unusual move sets Denton, the ninth-largest county in Texas and one of the fastest-growing, apart from the state’s other biggest counties, which all use some form of electronic voting, according to data collected by the Secretary of State’s office. Both Bexar and Harris Counties, for example, have had all electronic voting systems in place for 15 years.

   Robert directs your attention to this comment at the linked source;

Hamilton Richards July 5 @ 6:05 p.m. | Registered Texas Tribune User The article, and most of the comments, assume that electronic voting and paper ballots are mutually exclusive. Not so! The STAR-Vote system being developed by Travis County combines the best of both. You make your selections on an electronic screen, and when you press the OK button the machine prints your filled-in ballot on a letter-sized sheet of paper. You look it over, and when you're satisfied with it you drop it into the ballot box. Those paper ballots are the official record of the voters' selections. They can be recounted, by machine or by hand, as many times as it takes to convince the losers that the count is correct. What's the advantage over hand-marked paper ballots? Over-voting is impossible, and under-voting can be detected. Unlike ballots marked by hand, in which the voter's intent can be obscured by stray marks and other mistakes, machine-marked ballots can be read, manually or by machine, with extremely high accuracy.
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