ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) — Upcoming changes to the way we vote will soon impact those going to the polls in Taylor County, as well as the rest of Texas.
A new, paper trail system will be only one of the changes voters will need to be aware of.
“If that voter does not feed that paper in the scanner, and they leave with that paper, in essence they have not cast their ballot,” said Freda Ragan, Taylor County Elections Administrator.
“Taylor County has never experienced any type of voter fraud,” said Ragan.
However Republicans in the Texas Legislature wanted to crack down on various voting issues.
“I think a lot of it was driven from the 2020 election,” said Ragan.
Senate Bill 598 passed, which requires all elections in the state to have a trackable voting system.
“Audible voting systems is basically paper based or paper trail system,” said Ragan.
Some other changes are pending for voters in Senate Bill 1, which has yet to be passed.
These proposals include voter ID, in-person voting, security cameras at polling places and counting locations, places to store paper trails, and new times when people can go vote.
“It might be answered in a subsequent session if the Democrats ever participate again in the legislative process,” said Dr. Paul Fabrizio, professor of political science at McMurry University.
Fabrizio says these proposed changes mostly impact local governments who would be required to pay for these unfunded mandates.
“Yeah, it might be a little difference at the polling place, there might be a camera where you didn’t see a camera, but our voting really won’t be affected,” said Fabrizio.
Fabrizio says the new requirements in SB1 would also impact people on the margins, such as the elderly or people without identification.
Ragan does not know how much it will cost yet as they are still waiting to hear back from the state for SB1. Since Taylor County is complying so early, they are hoping to receive state funding.