Bellaire - Meyerland - West University Edition | March 2021

ELECTION Harris County purchases 12,000 newhybrid votingmachines

BY HANNAH ZEDAKER

& Software are the only two voting equipment companies certified by the Texas Secretary of State’s Office. The county vetted both options before it selected Hart InterCivic Inc., an Austin-based company that designs and manufactures its voting machines in Texas. The newmachines differ from those previously used in Harris County in that they feature a digital touch screen as well as a paper copy of the voter’s selections that the voter can verify before submitting the ballot into a secure, on-site ballot box, Longoria said. She said the new systemwill provide more security for voters through the collection of paper ballots and triple data backup that allows for easier election audit tracking. The machines will also offer more accessibility for voters, Longoria said, as they feature Americans with Disabilities Act-accessible controls and screen toggling features.“My commitment to Harris County voters

VERIFYING Harris County’s new Hart InterCivic Inc. Verity Voting Systems aim to enhance voter security and accessibility by offering the following features. THE VOTE

Harris County residents who vote in the upcoming May 1 elections will be the first to use the county’s new voting machines, known as Hart InterCivic Inc. Verity Voting Systems, which will offer paper backup copies of submitted ballots. On Jan. 26, with an expenditure of $54 million, the Harris County Commissioners Court unanimously authorized the purchase of 12,000 newmachines and entered into a one- year contract agreement with Hart InterCivic Inc. that will be in effect until Jan. 25, 2022. The agreement also includes 11 one-year renewal options. According to Harris County Elections Administrator Isabel Longoria, the county has been working to purchase new voting machines since fall 2019 with the goal of implementing a new system by May 2021. According to Longoria, Hart InterCivic Inc. and Election Systems

Paper copy of voter selections to be reviewed before submission Americans with Disabilities Act- accessible controls and screen toggling features

Digital touch screen

Triple data backup to allow for easier election audit tracking

SOURCE: HARRIS COUNTY ELECTIONS ADMINISTRATOR’S OFFICE/COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

is to provide an open, transparent and accountable voting process— moving to the Hart InterCivic Verity Voting System does just that by giving voters a more accessible, secure and verifiable ballot to improve the voting experience for all Harris County voters,” Longoria said in a statement. The systemmade its Texas debut in the Nov. 5, 2019 elections across six counties. It will see its first use in

Harris County for the May 1 elections. According to a Jan. 26 news release from the Harris County Elections Administrator’s Office, the first 2,300 machines will be delivered to Harris County by March 1. Harris County, the largest voting jurisdiction in the state, is one of nearly a dozen Texas counties to purchase voting machines from Hart InterCivic Inc. since the beginning of 2021.

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