By Terra Rivers | Managing Editor
Hays County has changed the way election results are being released, and the information lacked clarity.
Residents and members of the media were confused Tuesday night when the election results seemed to be in by 7:05 PM.
All 100 precincts were reporting, but there was no clarification whether the results included Election Day totals or were only Early Voting totals.
The unofficial and official results have been posted on the Hays County website the same way for at least ten years.
The results were documented on a PDF with the Early Voting and Election Day numbers broken out before a full total was given.
Ballot items were listed alphabetically by city election following the state and national races, and the precincts were not considered 100 percent reporting until the Election Day results were received.
Yesterday’s election marked the first in Hays County while part of the County-Wide Voting Centers program. However, there was no communication that the change to voting centers would change how the results were reported.
Ballot items were listed in random order.
According to Jennifer Anderson, Hays County Elections Administrator, because all precincts are now included at every location, the precincts will show 100 percent reporting even if the results include only early voting.
Anderson said the Elections Office is adjusting to the new equipment and the way the results are reported through the new system.
“We are working with our vendor for different formatting moving forward,” Anderson said. “It’s more than likely something we will have to manually change on our end before each update to the website. As legally, we still canvass by precinct.”
Anderson said the county will be looking at different options to use in future elections, and this election was a learning experience for everyone.
“I apologize for the inconvenience,” Anderson said. “For an election with new equipment and first-time vote centers, we’ve had nothing but compliments about the success. The election was very smooth.”
Commissioners voted 4 to 1 with Hays County Judge Ruben Becerra voting against purchasing Hart InterCivic’s Verity Duo in September.
The Verity Duo system allows users to switch between English and Spanish at any time during the voting process. Voters who need an adaptive device can choose from a rotating selection wheel, plug-in earphones, or a sip-and-puff option. Poll workers will also have a cart-based system for curbside voting.
With the hybrid systems, voters used an electronic machine to fill out their ballots and received a receipt of their votes for them to review.
To finalize the vote and actually cast the ballot, voters placed the paper ballot in the scanner to the right of the voting machine. The scanner read the text, and then dropped the paper ballot into a secure, locked ballot box for standard auditing and recount purposes.
FINAL UNOFFICIAL RESULTSElection Night Results 11-5-2019
Election Night Results 11-6-2019-1130