TAYLOR COUNTY, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Day one of early voting in Taylor County came to a close with more than 2,500 residents voting. At all seven polling locations in Abilene, a new paper auditing system has seemed to be received very well by the voters.

“It’s one of the easiest ways I’ve ever had to vote, and I’m 67. I’ve been voting since I was 17- no, 18,” Taylor County voter, Donna smith vouched.

Another voter, Wes Grigsby, had a similar notion, “I really like having the paper backup as well as the electronic.”

Election staff said they’d been helping the 2,556 voters through the new process, which is essentially the same with an extra step at the end. The act of taking your paper ballot to the scanner after selection is where County Elections Administrator, Freda Reagan explained some have been having trouble.

“They want to take that ballot and leave with it,” Reagan said. “We have people at the door, but you have to really catch them and say, ‘no, no, no, don’t leave!’ They think it’s like a receipt.”

Rather than a receipt, the paper that prints out after you’ve made your selections is, in fact, your vote. It isn’t counted until you take your paper to the scanning machine and feed it on through.

“Just like with most new things, it’s a new process and it’ll probably take them, y’know, a couple of elections,” explained Reagan.

This change was made as a direct result of a 2021 statewide mandate, requiring all Texas counties to implement the paper auditing system by 2026. The mandate was in response to voter concern over election security. With the digital and paper record, audits can be conducted more transparently.

“It gives me more hope in our electoral system how were voting,” Smith added. “I was a little bit- feeling a little bit hopeless this last presidential election… This is the first time in many years I’ve felt safe with my vote.”