AUSTIN – Early voting begins Monday and voters heading to the polls will notice new voting machines in Travis County.
- Early voting from October 21 – November 1
- Check if you are registered to vote here
- Election Day is November 5
This year, you aren’t going to see any presidential candidates or city council members on your Travis County ballot. This election is full of propositions from the state, county, and city governments.
The new voting machines are one way for county officials to avoid hacking concerns they were faced with during the 2016 presidential election.
The new polling machines use paper cards as receipts so voters can check their vote before submitting it. They also allow voters to adjust settings like the font size, inverting the colors to make the ballot easier to read, and provide headphones so visually impaired individuals can vote.
(Close up image of the controls panel and headphones used to assist visually impared individals while voting. This system is the same as previous years so those who have voted in previous elections with this control panel will be familiar with it. (Megan Vaughn/Specturm News)
HOW THE NEW MACHINES WORK:
Voters will still be familiar to much of the process. When first arriving at the polls, you’ll show your photo ID to the poll worker. Click here to see a list of approved IDs.
From there, you’ll be given a blank card that you will insert into a ballot marking machine. The machine will show you prompts, taking you through the ballot a proposition at a time.
(You'll notice a notch in the top right corner of the ballot. When you insert it into the voting machine, the notch will match to a marker on the machine. (Megan Vaughn / Spectrum News)
This device is not connected to the internet and does not have a hard drive that stores your vote selection. All it does is allows you to make your selections.
Once you’ve filled out your ballot, you’ll be given a review screen where you can double check your votes or make any changes.
When you are finished voting, your selections will be printed on the paper card you inserted into the machine when you first started. This is your final opportunity to check that your vote is correct.
If you have any changes you’d like to make, notify a poll worker and they can give you a new card. From there you will be allowed to select any open machine and you do not have to get back in line.
You’re not done yet though; your vote will not be counted until you put it in the ballot box. These boxes will make an electronic copy of your vote in a removable media storage device on the ballot box. The paper ballots are then stored in a locked, sealed bin.
(Ballot box where you will insert the paper ballot to be counted. (Megan Vaughn/Spectrum News)
On Election Day, that media storage device containing the electronic copies and the sealed bin containing the paper ballots are removed from the ballot box and are taken to be tallied. They are both counted to ensure that the votes are accurate.
In the event that there is a question about the accuracy of the election, the paper copies could be checked again.
Here is a video of the entire process:
WHAT ELSE TO KNOW:
Early voting runs from October 21 through November 1. Election Day is Tuesday, November 5.
You can see a full list of early voting locations and current wait times for those locations by clicking here.
Additionally, you can see a sample ballot made specific for where you live here. You’ll need to enter your name, birth date or your voter unique identification (VUID) number. That number can be found on your voter registration certificate.