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New Voting Machines on Trautman’s agenda

Diane Trautman, Harris County Clerk receives demonstration and an explanation of the newest voting machine technologies to provide voters a more comfortable voting experience. (Photos by Allan Jamail)

Touch Screen Voting Machines could be coming to Harris voters

By Allan Jamail

Houston, TX. July 16, 2019 – Dr. Diane Trautman, Harris County Clerk, has her sights set on getting Harris County voters the newest voting equipment available to provide voters an easier, more comfortable and reliable voting experience.

At the 2019 Annual International Association of Government Officials (iGo) Conference Trade Show, vendors displayed and demonstrated various types of equipment and software to improve performance for governments performing services to the public.

Attending the conference were elected and appointed officials such as county and city clerks, record keepers, tax assessors, secretaries and businesses with interests in learning and obtaining insights to the most modern equipment and software.

Clerk Trautman is interested in the county getting new voting machines that’ll make voting easier, quicker and to provide both electronic and hard copy records of votes cast in an election. Many of the voting machines displayed provided TOUCH-SCREEN voting, where the voter can look at a screen with candidates’ names and positions on it and then merely touch the name on the screen of whom they wish to vote for. After voting, the machine will electronically record their votes and then printout a hardcopy paper ballot of their votes for record keeping and recounting if needed. This type of voting will give more integrity to the voting process and the hardcopies of the ballots can be then used later to verify any questionable vote results and make “recounting results” more accurate and reliable.

Dr. Trautman said the approximate cost of 74 million would be needed to completely replace the 20 year old machines currently used. She’s planning to budget the new machines in her upcoming budget so they can be ready for implementation in the May 2021 election.

If Commissioners Court approves the cost, then the Clerk will form a community advisory group and a County Voting Selection committee comprised of members from the election staff, voter registration staff, universal services staff and purchasing staff.

Numerous voting machine vendors will bid on the county’s business and present their equipment to the Selection Committee, who will narrow down the decision to the top two venders. In July 2020 Commissioners’ Court Clerk will select the vender for the new machines and place the order in August 2020.

From January through April of 2021, there will be awareness, education and demonstrations of the new machines provided to the voters, public and Election Judges.