Election Systems & Software (ES&S) comments on Hart InterCivic’s suit against the Texas Secretary of State over allegations that the Secretary is exceeding his power by allowing the use of voting systems that produce a voter-verifiable paper record. The recently filed Hart lawsuit is a simple publicity stunt meant to give credibility to a frivolous position unsupported by law in order to eliminate state-of-the-art election technology from the marketplace. Hart claims that paper-based voter verifiable voting systems are unacceptable under section 121.003(12) of the Texas Election Code. They further argue that by authorizing the use of these paper based voting systems, the Secretary of State, who is the Chief Elections Officer in the State of Texas, would be engaging in unauthorized, illegal, and unconstitutional conduct. The Hart lawsuit was initiated in response to a request made by a Texas State Representative to the Texas Attorney General that touch screen devices which produce a voter verifiable paper record be allowed to qualify under section 121.003(12) and be eligible for use in the Texas countywide polling place program.
Security, transparency, and the ability for voters to independently verify their selections are bedrock values for voters and elections administrators in Texas and throughout the country. As such, jurisdictions in Texas and across the United States are demanding new and innovative options for voters to verify the accuracy of elections. Vendors such as Election Systems & Software and others have made it a priority to maintain voter confidence and enhance the voting experience through the development of innovative and transparent voting solutions, including systems that produce voter-verifiable paper records.
Many counties in Texas are presently in a position where they need to replace their aging voting equipment. Hart’s efforts to suppress voters’ options to verify their own voting selections and to minimize the ways in which the accuracy of vote totals can be verified will stifle innovation, diminish competition, and reduce the options available to voters and elections administrators throughout Texas.
“The national focus in elections is aimed at improving voter confidence, which is accomplished by providing voters with a means to verify the voting selections they have made,” said ES&S President & CEO, Tom Burt. “Given the current environment, it is puzzling to me that Hart would consider paper-based voter verifiable voting systems as unacceptable and that the authorization of the use of these paper based voting systems by the State’s Chief Elections Officer would be considered illegal, and unconstitutional conduct.”