Counties look ahead to more user-friendly elections with upgraded equipment

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At its Nov. 29 meeting the Comal County Commissioners Court approved the adoption of new electronic election equipment.

Comal County Public Information Officer Paul Anthony said the smaller constitutional amendment election in November 2019 will be a good training ground for the new equipment.

According to Anthony, the new touch-screen system will take the place of the current setup where users must rotate a wheel to select candidates and cast a ballot.

“So everybody has been jabbing at the screen, and now it will actually do something,” Anthony said.

Anthony said Comal County looked at buying the equipment three years ago, but because it was not yet certified by the state the county purchased its current equipment with an agreement from the vendor that it could trade it in for the upgraded equipment once it received state approval. As part of the deal, Comal County received a discounted rate on the new equipment.

While the new equipment has an option for backup paper ballots, Anthony said a decision has not yet been made as to whether that function will be implemented.

In Guadalupe County, the Commissioners Court approved a request for proposals on a new electronic voting system in November, something Guadalupe County Judge Kyle Kutcher said is “a longtime coming.”

According to Guadalupe County Elections Administrator Lisa Adam, there are three vendors in the state with certified voting systems. The request for proposal period ended Dec. 13, and the Commissioners Court is expected to make a selection Jan. 22.

“It’s a big responsibility, and we want to make the best decision we can for the county for the voters and ensuring that our elections moving forward are transparent and accurate just as we have been in the past,” Adam told the court Nov. 13.

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Rachel Nelson
Rachel Nelson is editor of the New Braunfels edition of Community Impact Newspaper. She covers local business, new development, city and county government, health care, education and transportation. Rachel relocated to Central Texas from Amarillo in 2009 and is a graduate of Texas State University's School of Journalism and Mass Communication.
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