Texas: Wichita County buys additional voting equipment in case of increased mail-in ballots | Claire Kowalick/Wichita Falls Times Record News

Wichita County is planning to have additional equipment in place in case there are any changes to elections due to the COVID-19 situation. The Commissioners Court approved Monday the purchase of a Hart Intercivic Ballot Now Printer and a Kodak i660 Central Scanner with software and monitor for $62,675. The expenditure will come of the of the general contingency fund, but the purchase could be fully or partially reimbursed through the Helping America Vote Act (HAVA). HAVA was passed by the United States Congress in 2002 to improve the voting process and voter access after issues came up in the 2000 election. The program aims to update and upgrade voting equipment, have statewide voter registration databases, provide voter identification and administrative complaint procedures, and provide provisional voting. While elections offices have been working for years to make these changes, the upcoming election has the additional challenge of the coronavirus. There has been discussion at the national and state levels to expand mail-in voting to lessen the chance of exposure to COVID-19, especially for the elderly or other vulnerable populations.