There is a struggle for election integrity ongoing in Texas. On one side are those who want to open up the market and include better systems with both paper and electronic trails. On the other is Harris County and certain equipment vendors who want to monopolize the industry and continue using 1980’s insecure technology.
Recently there has been several new systems come on the market which have both paper and electronic. In Texas we have Hart’s on demand paper ballots system, like Denton County has adopted. By ES&S they have their electronic ballot assist system which fills out a paper ballot based upon your selections. Both systems provide both a paper ballot and MBB hard drive with the results. There are multiple trails this way and much better accountability than a traditional DRE system. DRE is Direct Recording Electronic voting system. These are quite possibly the most distrusted systems in use today. Ironically enough this is one point with bi-partisan support – neither democrats nor republicans trust DRE’s, and with reason.
With the advent of the paper ballot on demand and the ballot assist systems beginning to take hold in Texas, a vendor began putting up obstacles in order to protect their market share. Oddly enough, the vendor, Hart, also sells the very systems they were suing to stop from being used. Their fear was loosing their contracts with counties that have countywide polling centers, to their competitor. The Texas Election code states county polling centers must use DRE’s. Representative Lyle Larson asked the OAG for an opinion and today the OAG released their opinion and they have cleared the way for this new technology to be used across the state. (You can read the AG’s Opinion HERE.)
This opens up the doors for new technology, much better technology to begin to be used across the state. This is a good thing for Texans and this is a good thing for Texas’ election integrity.
Thank you Gen. Paxton.