Travis County begins search for a new voting system following rejection of STAR-Vote bid proposals

Travis County works to find a new voting system before 2020 presidential election.

Travis County works to find a new voting system before 2020 presidential election.

Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir announced Tuesday the county would drop the plan to implement STAR-Vote as the new voting system.

“We are going to proceed with getting a new voting system,” DeBeauvoir said. “It’s not going to be STAR-Vote, but it’s going to be the next best thing. I think what most voters want to know is the next voting system in Travis County will have better security, and it will have a paper trail.”

In October 2016, the county began accepting bids for a new voting system called STAR-Vote, which was estimated to cost $14 million and last between 10-20 years.

In a Sept. 26 meeting, commissioners rejected all proposals received through the bidding process.

“Our goal throughout this project has been to develop a system that fits the specifications requested by the voters of Travis County, in a manner that is secure, transparent, auditable and reliable,” DeBeauvoir stated in a letter to commissioners. “After much consideration, I have determined that the responses provided by the vendor community do not allow for the development of a complete voting system that will meet our needs.”

The goal

DeBeauvoir said there were three things the county was trying to accomplish with a new voting system:
1. Better security system
2. Creating a paper trail, which could be used in postelection audits or recounts
3. A cheaper, secure and efficient system for the county to maintain

“A paper trail and better security are nonnegotiable, and we will have those same things in our next voting system no matter who provides it to us,” DeBeauvoir said.

DeBeauvoir said she has been working on this project since 2009. She said the existing system, provided through Hart InterCivic, was implemented in 2001.

“We have a good system now and over the years, we’ve added additional security features to it because of what we learned in studying STAR-Vote,” DeBeauvoir said.

What's next?

Moving forward, the county will send out requests for proposals for the new system by the end of October. The yearlong process will allow the county to review each proposal and plan to select a vendor and execute a contract by summer 2018. The new system will take between two to four years to implement. Voters can expect to see a new system before the 2020 presidential election.

“It’s an ambitious goal,” DeBeauvoir said. “We’re going to try our very best to make it. Stay tuned. We’ll let you know if we’re on track.”


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