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Webb County acquires $2.8 million worth of new voting equipment

The county and city are combining efforts to ensure the integrity of the voting process here at home.
Published: Apr. 7, 2021 at 9:52 PM CDT
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LAREDO, Tex. (KGNS) - The election law passed in Georgia formalizing the state’s early voting system remains under fire from critics who claim it’s a means of suppressing votes.

Last week, the Texas senate advanced a bill with sweeping restrictions on how we might be casting our ballots in the lone star state.

The county and city are combining efforts to ensure the integrity of the voting process here at home.

The lieutenant governor of Texas is defending the state’s effort to change the voting laws and is outwardly supporting senate bill seven.

The Webb County Elections Office wants to reassure voters that advancements are being made to secure the local electoral process and he wants Laredoans to put them to the test.

Election administrator, Jose Salvador Tellez, is unlocking closed doors to unveil what will soon become a part of the norm for voting here in Webb County.

It’s $2.8 million worth of new electronic voting equipment which includes a touch screen which allows voters to make their selections, it’s called an express voting machine, the information is then transferred to a separate machine, a precinct scanner, once an individual is confident with their choices.

“I encourage people to come out and to try the machines when we have a mock election- this will be your opportunity to experience it, get some exposure to it and hopefully, next year in the 2022 primaries and general election you’ll feel more comfortable voting on the machine,” Jose Salvador Tellez. “I think it’s good. Apparently they are secure and it would provide, I would think, an option to the voting public to vote more quickly and securely.”

The security of ballots is still being hotly debated here in Texas as senate bill seven continues to make progress, but lawmakers continue to defend their actions against vocal opponents who believe it will limit accessibility.

“You’re questioning my integrity and the integrity of the governor, and the integrity of the 18 republicans who voted for this,” said Mayor Pete Saenz. “When you suggest that we’re trying to suppress the vote, you are, in essence, between the lines calling us racist and that will not stand.”

Republicans aren’t the only ones taking a stand.

“I know Texas registered elections officers organization was opposed to it and basically anything that limits the opportunity for a person to vote should not be supported in my opinion.”

Tellez believes these new machines should boost voter confidence and encourages anyone with doubts to participate in the mock election this coming May.

“If you mean security wise, is the machine susceptible to being hacked- no, it’s not because it’s not connected to the internet it’s self sustaining.”

There are only two companies in the state of Texas that can provide voting equipment, the Election Systems & Software and Hart InterCivic, Inc.

It does not include the controversial dominion voting systems which has been under attack by Republican lawmakers.

Dominion has so far filed four defamation lawsuits with the latest against fox news.

To further reassure voters, the money for the equipment was awarded from the Grant Center for Technology Civic Life and the same kind of equipment has been used in San Antonio Elections for the past four years and they have not reported any difficulties.

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