New program to help with election questions approved by Brazos County Commissioners

The program will allow voters to text basic questions and receive immediate answers.
KBTX News 3 at Six Weekday EXTENDED(Recurring)
Published: Dec. 28, 2022 at 4:27 PM CST
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - Voters in Brazos County will soon have a new way to get election information after the Brazos County Commissioners approved a contract with TextMyGov.

“This program is an opt-in text service,” Brazos County Election Administrator Trudy Hancock said. “So it’s not going to just generally send out text messages to people randomly.”

On a 4-1 vote, with Commissioner Russ Ford voting against, the Commissioners Court approved a $9,000 annual contract with the Utah-based company. The initial contract is for three years and will be funded through contingency funds according to Brazos County Judge Duane Peters.

The program will allow voters to text basic questions and receive immediate answers, such as “Where can I go to vote?”, or, “Am I registered?”

“There’s going to be a local number to them that the voters are going to be able to text into and receive automated answers to questions. Then they’ll also be able to sign up for notifications coming from that office as well. So they’ll be able to push out information.” TextMyGov Vice President of Sales, Carson Frandsen said.

The program also provides an opt-in service for voters to receive alerts about election information and important deadlines from the county.

Hancock said the election office only has eight phone lines and oftentimes during early voting and especially on election day those phones would be constantly busy with voters asking questions.

“We have a real problem sometimes with judges and election workers being able to get through on the phone to ask questions when they need help in the polling places,” Hancock said.

Hancock hopes this new program will offload some of the basic questions to the texting service.

“We have such a large demographic of young people, college-age people, and young couples, young married parents, that are very tech savvy and so anything that we can do to help those people that are more used to being able to look things up on their phones and things like that as opposed to, you know, someone who is older and is not quite tech savvy and they get really frustrated when they can’t get through on the phone. Just trying to mitigate some of those calls,” Hancock said.

The service is anticipated to be available for Brazos County in 2023.