Firms demo new voting technology

For the first time in 10 years, elections officials in the Texas Panhandle are eyeing new voting technology.

For the first time in 10 years, elections officials in the Texas Panhandle are eyeing new voting technology.

Austin-based Hart InterCivic on Tuesday demonstrated its new Verity models of electronic voting machines in the 11th floor auditorium of the Santa Fe Building, 900 S. Polk St.

The company had models on display for county clerks across the region, including devices that allowed for paper-based voting and those that could accommodate voters who are blind or have other disabilities.

The devices range in retail value from $4,650 to $6,100 each, Hart Sales Director Felice Liston said.

In 2006, Potter County adopted voting machines from Omaha, Neb.-based Election Systems & Software, while Randall County opted for Hart devices that year.

Since then, voting systems have advanced to offer better ease of use for pollworkers and voters.

“They’ve done a lot of things so that it’s more automatic … there’s less room for a pollworker to make an error of some sort,” Huntley said.

ES&S held a similar demo two weeks ago, Randall County Elections Administrator Shannon Lackey said.

Hart Director of Product Management Eddie Perez said county governments are also favoring electronic poll books, which officials use to check voters’ registrations, over their paper counterparts.

Potter County officials will likely send out a request for proposal from vendors sometime next year, Huntley said.

“This will not change before the (November) election,” Huntley said, “but it’s one of those things that is on the horizon, and when we make that decision it’s going to be correct and it’s going to be one that happened with a lot of forethought.”

Amarillo Globe News/Russell Anglin June 21, 2016