County Elections Office Makes Changes For Future Elections

In the aftermath of an ‘anomaly’ in the November election, the Hays County Elections Office is moving forward on plans to improve the voter experience and prevent future oversights.

Jennifer Anderson, the new Hays County Election Administration, released a statement in February stating one of the Mobile Ballot Boxes used in the November election had been overlooked and 1,816 voters weren’t tallied.

Anderson said the oversight was the result of human error and a lapse in policy protocols; the office has since made adjusts and put into place new policies to prevent it from happening again.

But those aren’t the only changes the election office plans on making to the overall election experience.

Hays County has 49 different precincts in which voters may fall under. In the last election, the county had a total of 157 different ballots distributed throughout the precincts.

Anderson said there have been occasions when voters have received the wrong ballot.

On top of that, the Elections Office is looking into purchasing new voting machines to improve communication between the systems.

According to Anderson, the county currently has a mix-match collection of mobile ballot boxes and judge’s booth control machines that do not always communicate with one another.

There are three companies certified to provide voting equipment in the state of Texas: Elections Systems Software, Hart Intercivic and Dominion Voting Systems.

Anderson said there are several steps the elections office will have to take before the new machines are purchased.

The department will create a Citizens Committee to offer suggestions throughout the process. There will also be public forums for the community. Staff will also have to be trained to use the new machines once the purchase been made. The office will also have to run what’s called a “pilot program” to work out the kinks with the new MBBs and JBCs. 

The Elections office is also working on changes at the polling places. Anderson and staff are working on removing assigned precincts for election day voting. The change will allow voters vote anywhere in the county on election instead of at locations designated by precinct.

Anderson said she hopes is to have the new equipment purchased by the end of the year. Her office’s goal is to use the 2018 primary election for the pilot program, so staff can work out all the kinks and bugs in the process before the next presidential election.

For information about the missing ballots, read the original story here.


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