On the second day of early voting in the November election, Jacob Montoya cast a ballot at the Hays County Government Center. He was a San Marcos mayoral candidate and eager to cast his ballot in that race and other local contests. But his vote ultimately went uncounted, one of 1,816 votes stored on a memory card that was misplaced and discovered weeks after Election Day on Nov. 6. “Do you think the younger generation is going to vote after something like this?” Montoya said. “My vote didn’t matter. First of all, they didn’t count it, and then when they did find it, they didn’t count it anyway.” … The confusion regarding the November election has led many Hays County residents to call for the use of paper ballots, which advocates say could give voters peace of mind that their vote has been accurately recorded.
… On July 6, state Rep. Lyle Larson, R-San Antonio, wrote a letter to the Texas attorney general making the case that voting machines that allow voters to cast a ballot on an electronic screen and receive a paper print out of their selection could be approved for use in vote centers. The attorney general’s office declined to review the request because of litigation filed July 31 by Hart InterCivic, the same voting equipment manufacturer Hays County is considering purchasing new equipment from, against the Texas Secretary of State.
That litigation seeks to block Larson’s request. In the lawsuit Hart alleges that if the attorney general determines paper ballot-producing machines can be used in the same way direct recording electronic voting machines are, the decision “will create a very real and incalculable risk of injecting illegal voting for all elections statewide. Indeed, voters disappointed with political outcomes will likely file election contests throughout the state.”