Wichita County Considers New Electing Voting Equipment

- Advancement in technology has Wichita County election officials considering making big changes on how you vote for your political leaders.

Equipment malfunction or failure has marred several election nights in Wichita County. County officials we spoke with say they were impressed with the presentation by Hart InterCivic. And the Austin based company believes it has what it takes to make elections in Wichita County a simplified, fast process.

For 10 years, Wichita County voters have cast their ballots on election equipment by the company Election Systems and Software. But election officials say the equipment is slow, saps bandwidth and is subject to paper jams. That's why officials from Texas based Hart InterCivic presented three different systems to election officials at the MPEC as the answer to their problems.

"They can pick and choose, mix and match their three separate systems, We do have an integration between all three so there is extra value if you have all the pieces cause they do talk to each other but they all stand alone, as well," says Kent Trethewey, of Hart InterCivic.

Company officials say their systems operate on more current windows software and will allow the county to switch from polling precincts to voting centers.

"On election day you have an early voting site where anybody can go and vote there.  That way if you live in Electra and you work in Wichita you don't have to try to get back to Electra on election day to vote. You can go to one of the vote centers and vote," says Lori Bohannon, clerk for Wichita County.

Bohannon says switching to voting centers would allow the county to drop from 35 polling sites on election day to 18 centers and save thousands of dollars. But this meeting was just for information because county officials say they're not ready to to pay nearly $1.4 million dollars for this system just yet.

Tomorrow-- county election officials will attend another meeting. They say this one is not open to the media... And will be be the company officials of the the current election equipment.

And Wichita County Judge Woody Gossom says the goal is to see if ES&S can offer a less expensive equipment solution to make the upcoming November election run smoothly.


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