Dallas County to Hold Demonstrations of New Voting Centers

Voter Registration Day is Tuesday

A new plan for voting centers in Dallas County will allow voters to cast their ballot at any polling place in the county starting in November.

Seven demonstrations are scheduled to give residents a look at the equipment that will make it possible.

The first was Monday afternoon at the Korean Cultural Center in the 11500 block Stemmons Freeway.

Others will be:

Monday, Sept. 23, 6:30-8:30 PM - Irving City Hall, 825 W. Irving Boulevard, Irving, Texas 75060

- Tuesday, Sept. 24, 6:30-8:30 PM - Coppell Town Center, 255 Parkway Boulevard, Coppell, Texas 75019

- Wednesday, Sept. 25, 6:30-8:30 PM - Mesquite City Hall, 757 N. Galloway Avenue, Mesquite, Texas 75149

- Thursday, Sept. 26, 5:30-7:30 PM - South Garland Library, 4845 Broadway Boulevard, Garland, Texas 75043

- Friday, Sept. 27, 6-8:30 PM - Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center, Core Building., 2922 MLK Jr. Boulevard, Dallas, Texas 75215

- Tuesday, Oct. 15, 12-2:00 PM - Dallas City Hall, 1500 Marilla Street, Dallas, Texas 75201

Assistant Dallas County Election Administrator Robert Heard gave the demonstration at the Korean Cultural Center with translator John Jun assisting residents who spoke only Korean.

"A lot of immigrants have issues with languages and they are hesitant to go and vote because of the language issue," Jun said. "But the fact that they came out with the new voting machine makes it easier on the people, especially given the fact that they can vote anywhere in the county."

Heard said a priority with the new system was that voters still wanted a paper back up.

"They wanted to not only be able to look at the screen of the equipment, but they also wanted to be able to look at something on paper to verify that the machine marked exactly what they wanted it to mark," Heard said.

The new equipment scans a voter's ID and prints a paper ballot with the issues to be decided in that voter's home precinct. That paper ballot is loaded into a touch screen machine which marks the voter's choices on the ballot. The completed ballot is then loaded into another machine at the polling place for tabulation.

"The memory of the machine, we take that out and we hand deliver that to a location where it can be counted," Heard said.

There is no internet connection with the ballot marking and tabulating equipment to reduce the possibility of tampering.

The process is similar to early voting, when around 50 polling places are available for voters in Dallas County. But instead of reducing the number of polling places on Election Day with the new equipment, Dallas County officials said they intend to keep hundreds open at first, even though voters will be free to use any of them. Around 485 polling places are used in some Dallas County elections.

"During the next several elections, throughout 2020, we're going to gather data from all of our elections," Heard said.

County officials could change the number of polling places in the future depending on how voters respond to voting centers.

Dallas County officials are also promoting National Voter Registration Day on Tuesday with events all around the county.

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