When many Texas counties bought their latest voting machines, Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears just broke up, Nickelback was popular, and the No Child Left Behind Act was signed into law. The year was 2002. Most county officials bought machines after Florida’s fumbled the 2000 election and Congress passed the Help America Vote Act. In 2018, county voting machines confused many Texans who accidentally changed their votes after machines took several seconds to populate results. “Connection issues” plagued Hays County and voting machines temporarily malfunctioned in Williamson County during the 2018 November elections. Several Texas lawmakers filed bills to require new voting machines but one Central Texas lawmaker thinks the state should help pay for them.
Austin Democrat Celia Israel filed House Bill 362 to create a Voting System Fund in the Secretary of State’s Office.
“This is one way to call attention to the fact that the machines are antiquated,” said Rep. Israel, D-Austin, “Running the election is one thing but running the election when we double in size every ten years is a strain on the machinery and a strain on the system.”
Three large companies make machines and the cost can be high. Williamson County alone plans on buying new machines at more than $4.5 million dollars next year. The county’s election administrator Christopher Davis told KXAN over the phone, other counties don’t have the money.