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Travis County approves new voting system

Wednesday, August 8, 2018 by Alyx Wilson

The Travis County Commissioners Court unanimously approved a new electronic voting system for Travis County Tuesday morning. The $8.2 million contract with Election Systems and Software’s (ES&S) ExpressVote system was recommended by Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir after 15 years of work to bring a system of its caliber to Travis County voters.

“We have been through in-depth interviews and demonstrations and we have arrived at a bank of voting equipment that we think will best serve Travis County voters, and that finally gives voters what we have been trying to get for them for years,” said DeBeauvoir. “An electronic voting system with a paper trail.”

The total spent on the new system will add up to $9.7 million, compared to the $6 million spent in 2001 on the current voting system. The County Clerk’s Office will begin a voter education campaign beginning in summer 2019 to teach Travis County voters the ropes of the new system before heading to the polls in the November 2019 elections.

This electronic voting system with additional security measures and added paper trail is designed to assure voters that their votes were counted accurately.

During Tuesday’s meeting, Commissioner Brigid Shea asked DeBeauvoir to speak on the issue of Russian meddling in recent elections.

“It’s not the voting system, unless you’re talking about some extreme possibility. Where we are vulnerable is with anything that is connected to the internet, and our voting system is not connected to the internet,” said DeBeauvoir.

The voter registration system that is used in vote centers on election day and in early voting is, however, connected to the internet, so DeBeauvoir explained the caution that they would employ moving forward.

“Where the Russians have attacked us is not with voting, and it’s not really even with voter registration. It’s in social media with social engineering. They are trying to plant stories to create division among us Americans, and that is where they have had most success with interfering with our elections.”

County Judge Sarah Eckhardt called ExpressVote the “most secure voting system the world has ever known,” before commissioners voted unanimously to pass the contract with ES&S.

Photo by Erik (HASH) Hersman made available through a Creative Commons license.

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