It might not be the first-of-its-kind, open-source software voting system that Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir has sought for more than a decade, but the county will have a voting system with a paper trail by the November 2019 election. Travis County commissioners Tuesday unanimously approved the purchase of an about $8.2 million electronic voting system with paper backup from Election Systems & Software. About $1.5 million in costs for other election day equipment will need to be approved in coming weeks, bringing the total cost to about $9.7 million. The county will be among the first in the nation to commit to rigorous statistical auditing using that backup.
The new system, which will replace the county’s 17-year-old one, will allow voters to see paper copies of their selections and verify that those are correct before casting their ballots. It also will create a paper record that can be checked against electronic voting totals during audits or recounts.
This model offers “the best of both worlds,” DeBeauvoir told commissioners, as it offers the speed of an electronic system combined with the reassurance and auditability of a paper trail system.