New voting machines in Hays County are promising to quiet fears that elections can be hacked or rigged. And they also include one feature that’s back by popular demand.
Hays County commissioners recently approved the purchase of a new hybrid system that features touch screen voting and paper backup. Touch screen because it’s 2019, and paper backup because you asked for it. Jennifer Anderson, the Hays County elections administrator explains, “Our voters asked for paper verifiable paper trails so we’re making that change for that.”
In his 2016 campaign, Donald Trump complained there might be problems with electronic voting. “When the outcome is fixed, when the system is rigged, people lose hope,” he said.
And he wasn’t alone. Digital voting systems convert the voters’ wishes into ones and zeros with no way of recounting the vote except by reprocessing the same possibly-flawed data. Avi Rubin, a computer science professor for Johns Hopkins University said, “We need to be able to go back and say, ‘Look we can prove that the election wasn’t rigged. Here are the ballots. We can perform recounts.'”
The new Hays County addresses those concerns. You vote on a touch screen and get a hard copy of your selections to look over. Anderson adds, “You can verify at that time and if everything looks right then you move over to the scanner which actually records your vote and leaves it in the containment area for recount purposes or post-election auditing.”
So the recount will be a re-scan of the same paper ballot you personally reviewed before you submitted it into the ballot box.
And as for possibly hacking the election? This system is never on line.
Feel better about voting?
by Fred Cantu, CBS Austin