Analysis

Travis County, Texas, Building New Voting System

In early June, the Travis County, Texas, clerk’s office released a request for information (RFI) seeking input from experts in a range of fields to help develop, build, implement, and maintain a new voting system the county has designed, called STAR Vote. The new system will replace the more than 1,700 direct-recording electronic voting machines and over 350 disabled-accessible voting systems, both of which were introduced in 2002 and are currently in use in the county, which is home to Austin and more than 650,000 registered voters. The county is using the RFI process to identify problems with the system as proposed and to provide suggestions for improvements.

STAR Vote—which stands for Security, Transparency, Auditability, and Reliability—will allow voters to complete ballots electronically, probably using off-the-shelf technology such as tablets, and then print out paper versions with official serial numbers to deposit into ballot boxes, which will be equipped with optical scan capabilities. Voters will also get receipts they can use to go online after the election to check if their ballots were counted.

After the clerk’s office evaluates the RFI submissions, which are due Aug. 4, the county may issue a request for proposals to continue the process of building the new technology.

Travis County is not alone in creating a system from scratch. Los Angeles County, California, is also in the process of developing its own voting technology.

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