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Bastrop County, Texas, Unveils New Voting Machine Tech

The county authorized the purchase of 40 electronic voting machines earlier this month, an $138,000 expenditure that was mostly covered by a federal grant from the Help America Vote Act's election security fund.

by Brandon Mulder, Austin American-Statesman / August 25, 2020
The ExpressVote Universal Voting System will be used exclusively during early voting in Bastrop County. [CONTRIBUTED] TNS

(TNS) — The Bastrop County Elections Department is unveiling its new electronic voting machines this week ahead of the November general election.

The department is holding open house events beginning Thursday, and voters will be able to give the new machines a test run.

"It's extremely user friendly. I don't anticipate any issues with voters being able to use the machines," said Bastrop County Elections Administrator Kristin Miles. "Our only focus in providing the open house is for them to have a chance to see it and ask questions of our office prior to actually using it."

The ExpressVote Universal Voting System is a paper-based voting machine that uses touch-screen technology to produce a paper ballot record. The machine handles the entire marking process and eliminates unclear markings, according to the manufacturer's website.

After voters enter a polling location and show their ID, they will be given a ballot card to insert into the electronic machine. After voters make all of their selections, the machine will print out their ballots on a ballot card. The card is then inserted into a ballot box to be counted in the same manner as traditional paper ballots, the county said.

The county authorized the purchase of 40 new voting machines earlier this month, an $138,000 expenditure that was mostly covered by a federal grant from the Help America Vote Act's election security fund.

The 40 new machines will augment the county's existing inventory 30 electronic machines that were purchased in 2018 to meet requirements set by the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Because there will be around 60 different ballot variations across the county, the electronic machines will be used exclusively during the early voting period, when people are allowed to vote at any precinct in the county. On Election Day, when voters are required to vote at their precinct's polling location, people will have the option to use either the paper ballot system or the electronic system, Miles said.

©2020 Austin American-Statesman, Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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