Following repeated allegations by Republican Donald Trump that the election may be rigged to ensure a win for Democrat Hillary Clinton, Texas lawmakers are actively considering ways to boost confidence in the state’s elections during next year’s legislative session. Among the ideas drawing interest: adding paper trail backups to thousands of electronic voting machines. The idea was brought up in a tweet Saturday by Gov. Greg Abbott. “That’s a great idea & we are considering it as an election reform measure. Election integrity is essential,” Abbott tweeted in response to a voter who tweeted that he wanted printed proof of how he cast his ballot. Over the last decade, several Texas lawmakers have filed bills to require paper trails on electronic voting machine. The proposals often include adding a printer in a sealed case to the state’s electronic voting machines so voters could check their votes against the receipt. The paper trail could be consulted in the event of a recount.
During the 2007 legislative session, interest in the idea stalled following estimates that adding the printers to all of the state’s voting machines could cost $40 to 50 million, according to a Fort Worth Star-Telegram article from the time.
One of the 2007 bills was authored by then-state Rep. Lois Kolkhorst, R-Brenham. Now a state senator, she said she may re-introduce her previous legislation.
“I agree with Governor Abbott’s call for election reform,” Kolkhorst said Tuesday in an emailed statement. “I have personally spoken with his office about re-introducing my legislation from 2007 to strengthen ballot integrity by requiring a paper record be printed of a person’s vote on an electronic voting machine. Texans have the right to inspect and verify that their vote was accurately recorded.”