Brazos County adding paper ballots to future elections, per new state rules

The changes could be in place by November.
Published: Jul. 21, 2021 at 4:37 PM CDT
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - Brazos County voters will see some changes in the coming elections. New state rules are adding a step to the voting process.

Texas Senate Bill 598, which was recently signed into law, requires a paper trail for election audits.

Brazos County officials say it’s part of election integrity measures and it’s going to cost the county $1.3 million to retrofit the electronic voting systems.

Brazos County has been paperless for almost 20 years. Area voters were interested to hear about the changes.

“I think the best thing you actually could do is have a paper trail with the new rules and things like that,” said Adarious Jones, a Brazos County voter and Texas A&M Student.

Voters like Jones said they don’t mind having an extra step.

Brazos County elections officials are still in the process of retrofitting 420 voting machines. It’s unclear if they’ll have the change done in time for this November’s election.

The regular check-in and electronic voting process will stay the same, with some added steps.

“You’ll slide that ballot into the bottom of that machine, into a printer and the votes that, the choices that you make will come out printed on that ballot. You’ll get that ballot back and then for your votes to be cast you’ll have to place that into a scanner,” said Trudy Hancock, Brazos County Elections Administrator.

Hancock says voter fraud in the county is extremely rare and they’ve been pleased with their electronic systems.

“There’s still over 40 counties who are all electronic just like we are and so those counties are the ones that will be vying for those funds,” Hancock said.

The county tells us the paper ballot system must be in place by November 2022 if they want to utilize as much state funding as possible.

Election Day is Nov. 2, 2021.

There are also some changes to voting locations. We have that story here.

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