Hays County Commissioners Hold Public Hearing On Countywide Polling Place Program Success

Staff Reports

The Hays County Commissioners Court held a public hearing for comments related to the use of the Countywide Polling Place Program in the Nov. 5 Constitutional Amendment Election and application to the Office of Secretary of State for “Successful Status.”

According to the agenda, following one election under the program, a county may apply for “successful” status with the Secretary of State and continue to use countywide election precinct polling places in subsequent elections.

Commissioners opened the public hearing after a 10-minute recess around 10:40 AM; however, there was only one speaker who addressed the court during the hearing.

Elections Administrator, Jennifer Anderson, read a comment from Donna Haschke, the democratic party chair, who could not attend the meeting; Haschke noted that the overall response from voters had been positive about the experience.

Anderson provided the court with the full data on voter turnout, equipment information and center usage.

Approximately, 18,589 of Hays County’s 139,722 voters turned out to the polls for the constitutional election; of that 18,589, less than 8,000 voters cast a ballot during the Early Voting Period.

Commissioners voted unanimously to approve a resolution in support of requesting “Successful Status” for Hays County’s application to use of the Countywide Polling Place Program in future elections.

According to the agenda, after a pilot election with the use of vote centers under an application with the Office of Secretary of State, a county may apply for “Successful Status” of the program to continue using vote centers in subsequent elections with the passage of a resolution requesting such status from the State.

The commissioners’ court will be required to provide the” Secretary of State a recording or transcript of the public hearing, who will review it as well as reports of the county’s elections using the program to confirm the county met the requirements of the Code.”

Voter turnout data for elections using the program will be compared with turnout in previous elections without the use of the program to determine whether the use of the program caused a substantial reduction in voter turnout.

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