When Williamson County voters head to the polls this fall, they will be using new voting equipment that provides a paper audit trail. The new system by Election Systems and Software (ES&S) is a two-step process that allows voters to make selections on an electronic marking device, then provides a printed ballot voters will scan into an electronic tabulator.
“As reassurance that their vote is being cast exactly as they wish, this new voting system lets voters review their paper ballot prior to submitting it for scanning,” said Elections Administrator Chris Davis. “It also provides for a paper audit trail of all votes for a given election.”
To help voters become acquainted with the new system, the Elections Department is hosting open houses where voters can stop by and use the new system to cast votes for a fictional election in the Land of Oz. Voters also can stop by the Elections Department during Voter Drop-In Hours to use the equipment.
“Our forefathers fought, lived and died for the right to vote, so the method we use to exercise that right is of the utmost importance to us in Williamson County. We invested $4.4 million dollars in our new voting system so that our citizens can cast their ballot in a safe and secure fashion, and it gives them peace of mind knowing there is a paper audit trail attached to their vote,” said County Judge Bill Gravell.
Open houses are scheduled from August 7 to 19 as follows:
o Wednesday, August 7, at Cowan Creek Amenity Center, 1433 Cool Spring Way, Georgetown from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
o Monday, August 12, at J.B. and Hallie Jester Williamson County Annex, 1801 E. Old Settlers, Round Rock from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
o Tuesday, August 13, at Cedar Park Library, 550 Discovery Boulevard, Cedar Park from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
o Thursday, August 15, at Hutto Public Library, 500 W Live Oak Street, Hutto from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
o Monday, August 19, at Williamson County Inner Loop Annex, 301 S.E. Inner Loop, Georgetown from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
The Elections Department, 301 S.E. Inner Loop, Georgetown, offers Voter Drop-in Hours on:
o Tuesday, August 20, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.
o Wednesday, August 21, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
o Thursday, August 22, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
o Friday, August 23, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
The county purchased 800 ballot marking devices and 115 electronic precinct tabulators, and 2 high speed electronic tabulators to be used in Central Count primarily for the tabulation of mail ballots, along with other necessary software, cases and accessories for approximately $4.4 million. The county is received a trade-in allowance on old equipment of $346,000.
Williamson County purchased the same voting system that was purchased by Travis County. Both counties will be using the new voting system for the first time in the November General Election.
For more in-depth information on the new voting equipment, visit www.wilco.org/wilcovotes and www.wilco.org/wilcovota.