Dripping Springs ISD votes in support of countywide polling program

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The Dripping Springs ISD board of trustees March 25 voted to support Hays County’s resolution to apply for the Texas Secretary of State’s Countywide Polling Place Program.

Hays County commissioners voted unanimously on Feb. 26 to authorize Hays County Election Administrator Jennifer Anderson to apply for the program. Anderson asked all local school district boards in Hays County to support the program through a resolution.

Currently, citizens in Hays County are able to vote at any county polling location during early voting, but are only allowed to vote at their individual precinct-designated polling place on Election Day. The Countywide Polling Place Program would make it permissible to vote at any county polling location on Election Day.

“I think improving voter turnout and voter accessibility is always a good thing,” Board Vice President Barbara Stroud said at the March 25 board meeting.

Prior to the DSISD vote, two individuals spoke during the meeting’s public forum and encouraged the board not to support the resolution, citing concerns including the program’s policy of using electronic voting machines without the option for paper ballots. Both residents also said they were concerned over the potential for digital voting fraud, as well as issues with Hays County voting machines.

“A vote for countywide polling place locations is a vote against free, fair and secure elections, the very things necessary for free, fair elected bodies like this to have any legitimacy,” constituent Martin McConahay said during public comment. “I ask that you vote no, because it’s against your constituents’ best interests.”

During the discussion over the agenda item, trustees expressed some concern over voting machines, including complications over the purchase of new voting equipment, but ultimately supported the Hays County Commissioners Court recommendation.

“I’m not an elections expert, and I do not know about that part of this conversation [in detail],” Superintendent Bruce Gearing said. “What I do know is that these polling places will be more convenient for our voters, and it will potentially enhance our election. So my recommendation is that we do present this resolution.”

Trustees also noted that Hays County is required to hold public meetings to invite input from constituents as a part of its application to the polling program, and residents can choose to voice concerns during the process.

“Nothing that we do makes [the outcome]a done deal,” Stroud said.

While the five DSISD trustees present March 25 voted unanimously in favor of the resolution, Hays CISD’s board of trustees voted not to approve a similar resolution on the same night.

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  1. Cristin Hearne

    This is a very generous spin on an outrageous discussion and vote by the DSISD board. They admitted they had not done due diligence and relied solely on what Hennifer Anderson gave them. Hays CISD tabled their vote to gather information – they listened to taxpayers and voters. DSISD Superintendent and Trustees have a history of not being transparent and not having legitimate and relevant discussions during board meetings. When the audio is posted, all should listen to the discussion about voting centers. Marisa, who is running in May (she was appointed in a secret process last year) was the most timid and weak in trying to justify this vote. Shame on all of them.

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Olivia Aldridge
Olivia is the reporter for Community Impact's Southwest Austin edition. She graduated from Presbyterian College with a bachelor's degree in English and creative writing in 2017. Olivia was a reporter and producer at South Carolina Public Radio in Columbia, South Carolina before joining Community Impact in Austin.
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