Travis County approves $9.7 million for new voting system

Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir presents Travis County's new voting system on Aug. 7.

Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir presents Travis County's new voting system on Aug. 7.

Travis County Commissioners this morning unanimously approved $9.7 million to purchase and implement ExpressVote, a new voting system provided through Election Systems & Software.

The system is anticipated to be in use for the Nov. 2019 elections, Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir said. ExpressVote includes a paper trail—a piece of paper the voter can use to review choices before depositing it into the ballot box scanner—a key security feature voters have been asking for, she said.

“I’m very confident that we are buying the very best equipment on the market,” DeBeauvoir said. "It has taken almost 15 years of constant work to get to this point. We picked the best proposer, the best system and also the lowest bidder."

Travis County voters have used the current system—provided through Hart InterCivic—since 2001. 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. The commissioners rejected all proposals for STAR-Vote in 2017, DeBeauvoir said, with the goal of finding a less expensive system that is secure and efficient to maintain.

"This has been a team that has embraced technology that is necessary in uncertain times," said Commissioner Jeffery Travillion. "This team has built a system-based, verifiable, documented approach. Our citizens and our taxpayers can have confidence in that."

Election Systems & Software operates in 145 Texas counties and 43 other states. This system was certified for Texas in April 2017 and allows for early voting and voting on election day, DeBeauvoir said.

With ExpressVote, a voter's experience at the poll will be different than it is today, DeBeauvoir said. The voter will receive an activation card to insert into the machine, called a ballot marking device. Navigation is available on a touch screen—rather than a dial or button. The machine then prints a verifiable paper record, which a voter can check to ensure their selections are accurately reflected. Finally, the voter will insert their paper record into the scanner, effectively casting their vote.

The new system is anticipated to be in use one year from now, for the Nov. 2019 election, Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir said.[/caption]


The new voting equipment—approximately 2,000 booths—will be delivered by spring 2019. A public education campaign to train voters on using the new machines and processes is slated for summer of 2019, DeBeauvoir said.
By Taylor Jackson Buchanan
Taylor Buchanan joined Community Impact Newspaper in 2018 after completing a master of journalism degree from the University of Texas. She worked as the senior reporter for Community Impact's Southwest Austin edition and is now the editor for the company's flagship Round Rock/Pflugerville/Hutto edition.


Public schools cannot require students, teachers, parents, and other staff members or visitors to wear masks after June 4, Gov. Greg Abbott declared in an executive order issued May 18. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Leander ISD 'highly recommends' masks; tax-free weekend tips and more Austin-area news

Read the latest business and education news from the Central Texas area.

School supplies will be exempt from the 8.25% sales tax Aug. 6-8. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
What to know before the statewide tax-free weekend Aug. 6-8

Customers will not have to pay the standard 8.25% sales tax on select clothing, footwear, school supplies and backpacks under $100.

Photo of a building with solar panels on the roof
Austin Habitat for Humanity's ReStore uses discount home improvement to build communities

The store sells sustainable construction materials, clothes, appliances, jewelry, furniture and the odd novelty item.

Photo of the Sobering Center
Travis County moves forward with plans for mental health diversion program at Sobering Center

The program would divert people experiencing mental health crises away from jail and towards supportive services following low-level offenses.

Baylor Scott & White Pflugerville
Ascension, Baylor Scott & White to require all employees be fully vaccinated against coronavirus by fall

Ascension and Baylor Scott & White have announced all eligible employees must be vaccinated against COVID-19 in the coming months. 

Photo of an egg dish
Kerbey Lane Cafe serves the Austin community with 'family feeling'

Since 1980, the cafe has served up breakfast, lunch and dinner at locations around the Capital City.

Austin City Council will convene for a regular meeting July 29, its first since mid-June. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin City Hall notebook: Council to look at downtown safety, homelessness and budgeting in return from meetings break

The first regular council meeting since mid-June features a packed agenda and opportunity for resident feedback on Austin's proposed budget.

Photo of a hand holding a vaccine vial
As COVID-19 hospitalizations track upward, Austin Public Health renews call for vaccinations

APH also mirrors the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's latest guidance for vaccinated individuals to wear masks in some circumstances.

The request to table talks regarding designated campsites came one week after city staff detailed two properties that could be used for such an initiative. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Ellis, Harper-Madison call for halt to Austin's 'Band-Aid' sanctioned homeless encampment plans

The East and Southwest Austin representatives shared their thoughts on the process one week after city properties in their districts were tapped as workable encampment sites.

Photo of a woman holding a Pride flag
Austin July and August events: Bat Fest, monster trucks and Pride

A variety of in-person and virtual events are happening around Austin this summer.

Photo of a house with a "for sale" sign in the front yard
A seller’s market in Southwest Austin continues to challenge homebuyers

Local experts say a "perfect storm" of construction obstacles continue to restrict home supply.

The CDC reversed its masking guidance for fully vaccinated individuals in response to the transmissibility of the delta variant of COVID-19 in a press conference July 27. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
NEW CDC GUIDANCE: All individuals should wear masks in K-12 schools, including those who are fully vaccinated

The new CDC guidance, announced July 27, also recommends people in areas with "high" or "substantial" levels of transmission wear masks regardless of vaccination status.