Gatesville: Commissioners vote to buy new voting machines

Commissioners chose to purchase the machines that have a print backup because a move in the Texas Legislature, in the recently ended session, debated a bill that if passed would have required a print backup and the commissioners feared next session it would pass. (File)
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GATESVILLE, Texas (KWTX) Coryell County commissioners on Monday voted to buy new voting machines for the elections office that are both electronic and can provide a paper print out for verification.

The 120 machines, built by Hart InterCivic, a world leader in development and production of voting systems, cost the county just short of $700,000 and will be in place for use in the coming March 2020 primary elections, Coryell County Tax Assessor/Collector Justin Carothers said.

He is the primary elections officer in the county and is responsible for managing all county elections.

“I’m happy,” Carothers said, “they’re new, reliable and easy to manage.”

The new machines will replace about 105 old machines, in use since the U.S. government issued grants back in 2004 to help counties pay the cost of upgrading to electronic systems, but now the 14-year-old technology is simply outdated.

Hart InterCivic, headquartered in Austin, built those machines, too.

The company provides training and support as part of the $697,000 contract and the life of the new machines should be as good as the last, Carothers said.

Commissioners chose to purchase the machines that have a print backup because a move in the Texas Legislature, in the recently ended session, debated a bill that if passed would have required a print backup and the commissioners feared next session it would pass.

They chose the print-capable machines because to have chosen machines that did not have a print option might have required an additional expenditure in two years to upgrade to a system that does print, Carothers said.

Carothers said he expects delivery of the new voting machines in December and staff training after that in preparation for the March primaries.