Harris County approved for the Countywide Polling Place Program

Harris County voters will soon be able to cast a ballot from any polling place in the county. Six Texas counties with a population of more than 100-thousand participate in the Countywide Polling Place Program. With more than two-million registered voters, Harris County will be the largest county in the nation to implement the program. Harris County Clerk Diane Trautman made the announcement yesterday. Starting with the May 4th joint election, voters will be able to vote anywhere in the county on Election Day.

Harris County GOP Chair Paul Simpson issued a statement on county-wide centralized voting centers

"In a rush to revamp Harris County voting, Democrat County Clerk Diane Trautman plans to use unreliable technology in voting centers that cannot comply with the law and are likely to discourage, confuse, and disenfranchise countless voters on Election Day.

He said the system is faulty.

"Ms. Trautman's office has admitted to not knowing how to meet legal requirements for translators at Election Day voting centers. Federal law requires Harris County to provide trained Spanish, Vietnamese, and Mandarin Chinese election clerk translators based on the ethnic populations in a precinct. But those voters could vote at any voting center on Election Day. Because the County already cannot recruit enough trained translators for the small number of precincts that require them, it cannot recruit enough required translators for hundreds of Election Day voting centers across the County.

In addition, he said the system is also unproven.

"Voting centers must communicate electronically with other voting centers continually on election day to make sure no one votes more than once that day. Harris County used electronic poll books in precincts the November 2018 election as a test. A large percentage could not communicate in real time as needed for voting centers. Using those e-poll books in Election Day voting centers is like NASA launching astronauts in a rocket that failed the only time it was tested.

And, lastly, he said this is risky.

"Ttumpeting her new system as voter-approved, Ms. Trautman in fact hand-picked groups to support her voting center scheme despite the risk it poses to all Harris County voters. Her unproven voting center scheme might work in a smaller county. But in the large and diverse community of Harris County, it risks vote dilution and discouraging, confusing, and disenfranchising countless voters on Election Day."

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