The Gray County Election office will be implementing a paper-based voting system that will be used for future elections. To prepare voters for the change, there will be a demonstration at the County Courthouse in room 415 on September 19th from 8:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. Randa Hiett, Elections Administrator for Gray County, discusses the reasoning behind the change and what the community can expect when they vote during the November election.
“The paper-based voting system was a legislative change in 2021,” Hiett said. “We have until August 2026 to make the transition however, the County wanted to implement the change sooner.”
The changes are not as drastic as one would assume. Hiett explains the new addition, a scanner, to the voting process.
“Voters will still make their selections with the touch screen,” Hiett said. “Once voters are satisfied with their selections, they will print their ballot. From there, voters will take their ballot to a scanner. The scanner will read and retain the ballot.”
The new scanning machine is attached to a secured box in which the ballots will be held until voting concludes.
Hiett further explains the role of the scanner in the voting process.
“Essentially, we are adding a step,” Hiett said. “Typically, people would hit a button and see the American flag which meant they were done voting. Now, people will hit a button and get their ballot. They will still see the American flag after they submit their ballot into the scanner.”
For those wondering if this paper-based voting system will be plagued with the same ‘Hanging Chad’ situation that swept the nation during the 2000 Presidential Election, Hiett addresses those worries.
“The system is still digital-based,” Hiett said. “The ballot is physical. The voter’s selection will be printed on it.”
As well, voters can be assured that the privacy of their vote is the utmost priority.
“The ballot is always private,” Hiett said. “We will not allow voters to walk out with it.”
The last day to register for the November 8th General Election is October 11th.
Early Voting starts October 24th and runs through November 4th. Early Voting will be held at the County Courthouse.
The last day to request a ballot by mail is October 28th.
For any additional information, you can go to the Gray County Election Website: https://www. co.gray.tx.us/page/gray.Elections