Voters view demo of new machines ahead of primary voting
By BRITTANY FHOLER
Copperas Cove voters had the opportunity to learn how to use the county’s new voting machines during a demonstration Monday evening held in the new Early Voting Center, located at 508 Suite B Cove Terrace Shopping Center.
In September 2019, the Coryell County Commissioners approved the purchase of 120 new electronic voting machines that use a printed paper ballot. The machines, built by Hart InterCivic, replaced nearly 105 older machines, also by Hart.
The machines are set up in the Early Voting Center in Copperas Cove and in the Coryell County Commissioners Courtroom in Gatesville in preparation for early voting, which starts February 18 and runs through February 28.
The voting process starts with voters presenting the poll worker their ID, and they will receive an access code along with a piece of paper with a black arrow on it. At the machine, voters use the touch screen to type in their access code and select ‘Accept.’ Voters then insert their sheet of paper into the machine, as shown on the screen. Once the paper is inserted, voters will select the button that says, ‘Begin Voting.’
Voters can then select the candidates of their choice using the touch screen until they come to the end. After reviewing their selections, they will select ‘Print Record,’ which will print their selections on paper ballot. Voters can double check their votes, and if changes need to be made, a new sheet of paper can be retrieved.
After the ballot is completed, the voter takes the paper to another machine and deposits it. This machine will scan the ballot and register the information. This is how voters will officially cast their ballot. If voters do not deposit their paper ballot into the second machine, their vote will not be counted.
Coryell County Tax Assessor/Collector Justin Carothers said there will be extra poll workers in every polling place to help voters.
“We know there’s going to be a little bit of a learning curve, but that interface is the same as the old one,” Carothers said. “It’s the same company making it, so things are kind of familiar.”
County Judge Roger Miller said that these new machines are very secure and since they are not connected to the internet, there is no worry of the machines being hacked or manipulated.
Miller also praised the new Early Voting Center, which is next door to the Waffle Cone. Previously, the Justice Center at 210 S. 1st Street served as the location for early voting. There were several complaints about the lack of parking available, with many voters having to park across the street and in front of other businesses. The new location is in the Cove Terrace Shopping Center and has ample parking.
“I’m excited, and I hope that this facilitates people in Copperas Cove voting,” Miller said.
Miller added that the county anticipates a larger voter turnout this year.
“With this being a presidential election year, we just want to make sure to do everything we can to make the process go smoothly as possible,” Miller said.