Hays County Courthouse, San Marcos, TX (July 31, 2019) – The Hays County Commissioners Court Tuesday approved authorizing General Counsel Mark Kennedy, and Elections Administrator Jennifer Anderson to negotiate a contract with Hart Intercivic to supply the County with 400 voting machines. The new machines are expected to be in place for the November 2019 election.
Hays County officials have been discussing the need for new voting equipment for several years, culminating in a workshop earlier this year by vendors Hart Intercivic and Elections Systems & Software, the only two companies that supply paper back-up ballots and are approved by the Texas Secretary of State’s Office.
“For many years some residents of Hays County have expressed skepticism about the elections process,” Hays County Judge Ruben Becerra said. “We hope that this purchase helps to restore confidence in the elections process and is the genesis to enriched unity of citizens in Hays County. We are working to ensure that all votes are counted.”
The County currently has only 256 voting machines, which are aging out of usefulness when compared to current technology. The machines were purchased in 2004, and typically have a 10-year lifespan. The Commissioners Court set aside $2 million for new voting equipment in the 2019 budget. The Court members considered the need for paper back-up ballots in both English and Spanish, accessibility by disabled voters and those voting curb-side, and security of the systems before making their decision.
When asked, Hays County Information Technology Director Jeff McGill told the Court that he was satisfied with the security measures both companies had implemented, and that from an IT perspective either brand of machine would be acceptable.
Anderson says that the next step, following approval of a contract by the Secretary of State’s Office, will be to publicize the new machines so that voters are familiar with them by November. Hays County’s Elections Office administers elections not only for countywide elections, but also for many city, school, and special districts throughout the county.