County Democrats, Republicans debate over polling locations

WICHITA COUNTY - The clock is ticking on whether Wichita County voters will be able to vote at any polling place in the March primaries, or will still be voting in the old precinct system.

Local Democrat and Republican Party Officials could not come to an agreement this week on which voting system to use with Republicans wanting the old precinct polling places and Democrats wanting to move to vote centers.  

Wichita County Commissioners held a public hearing Tuesday on whether to go to the vote center system first used in November.

County Judge Woody Gossom says the two parties have been in opposition for years on the type of voting system to use, but he believes they need to see what the law actually says about whether parties can choose their system in the primary.

Judge Gossom says the Democratic party believes the countywide system is the best route, which would make things easier for voters and cause less confusion because they could vote anywhere they choose.

While the Republican party has reservations about the system saying it would be easier for someone to commit voter fraud and alter results.

Judge Gossom says he believes the Secretary of State's Office can help resolve the issue.

"So whether that leads to the republican's elections one way, the democratic elections another. You've got everyone making guesses and what they think are logical statements and they may be but that may not be what works within the law," Gossom said. "Let's let the people that have to do that daily, that are the experts that have to make the call, let them make it."

However, County Clerk Lori Bohannon says if both parties can not agree on the method for the primaries, they will both have to use the precinct voting, but they could possibly go to vote centers again for general elections.

Judge Gossom says he doesn't see a problem with the vote centers since it has the same concept of early voting, where the voter fraud issue has not been raised. He also said 35 Texas counties have county-wide voting systems and no one has been prosecuted for voter fraud so far.


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