Hays County Courthouse, San Marcos, TX – Hays County has placed at the top of the state’s 254 counties in the League of Women Voters of Texas annual evaluation of county election websites, scoring 105 points for meeting standards for website security and compliance with legal requirements. The next closest county received 94 points in the weighted criteria.
“We’ve worked hard to improve and maintain our Elections website to ensure readability and easy access for our voters, and compliance with legal requirements,” Elections Administrator Jennifer Anderson said. “We’ve been in the ‘outstanding’ category of compliance for several years but have never before been recognized as first in the state.”
Anderson noted that kudos go to the Hays County Information Technology Department for its security practices as well as her own staff, particularly Elections Technology Coordinator Cliff Ormiston.
“Cliff has been instrumental in ensuring that required notices are placed correctly and prominently on our Elections site, and in Spanish as required,” Anderson said. “He ensures that our information is available on mobile devices and works with our vendors so that live results are posted quickly and in two different formats as ballots are counted on Election Day.”
“As we move closer to 2020 elections, it’s gratifying that our Elections staff understands what is required for all potential voters to have the information they need, and that our employees make that information accessible to all voters,” Precinct 1 Commissioner Debbie Gonzales Ingalsbe said.
“Security and transparency are top election priorities,” County Judge Ruben Becerra said, “so the ranking of our county at the top tells me we are heading in the right direction.”
League of Women Voters of Texas-trained volunteers evaluated the 254 county websites and the Texas Secretary of State’s www.votetexas.gov website based on a set of election information criteria derived from the Center for Civic Design’s Designing election department website and the ElectionTools’ election website template. In addition, the League reviewers noted compliance with the new Texas election laws HB 933 and HB 1241 that became effective September 1, 2019.
Grace Chimene, president of the League of Women Voters of Texas said, “The 2020 election year is almost upon us. Texas voters will be inundated with campaign messaging. Voters will look to their counties to find accurate, accessible, and useful voter information on safe and secure county election websites. Many counties need to take steps now to become a trusted resource for voters.”
In a November 12, 2019 press release, Secretary of State Ruth R. Hughs states “It is imperative that voters in the Lone Star State are able to count on trusted sources of election information as they prepare to make their voices heard in next year’s elections.”
Of the 254 counties, 201 of them have a website labeled “not secure.” Only nine counties provide a site where voters will feel confident they are at the right website with a government-verified DotGov domain. Of the 254 county websites, many have URLs which end in “.com,” “.net,” “.org,” and “tx.us.”