Hopkins County government is excited about the prospects of being a part of a pilot program through the Texas Secretary of State’s Office that will reduce the number of county polling sites but will also allow voters to cast a ballot at any polling spot in the county on Election Day. County Judge Robert Newsom stated that county government is excited about the concept and he is sure the citizens of the county will love it.
The county has purchased the needed voting machines and will go almost completely electronic according to Newsom. Newsom considers the electronic voting method to be much easier than voting on paper. He state he knows there are those who have always voted a paper ballot and may not be as excited about the electronic method. The only exception to electronic voting will be for those who vote by mail. With electronic voting, Newsom expects results of the election to be available much earlier in the evening on Election Day.
Looking to the next election, Newsom said the county has applied to host fewer polling places but to make them more convenient to the voting public. He stated voting would be more like early voting in that ballots could be cast by county voters at any of the county voting places. Wi-Fi connections at the polling place will be necessary for the pilot program to function appropriately–specifically, monitoring the single vote for each one who votes so that no one votes twice or more. Newsom hopes that of the 14 voting places, one will be at the courthouse and another at the regional civic center. It has been some time since votes could be cast at the courthouse on Election Day.
On Friday, May 8, Debbie Shirley, Hopkins County Clerk, submitted the request to the Secretary of State’s Office. That office will approve the state’s pilot program county participants.