Additional Guidance To Voters, Election Officials Regarding Hart eSlate Electronic Voting Systems
AUSTIN October 29, 2018 - Following the Texas Secretary of State's advisory to election officials on October 23, 2018, Secretary Rolando Pablos is issuing additional guidance and information to all voters and election officials in the 82 Texas counties that use Hart Intercivic eSlate voting machines.
During the first week of the Early Voting period, the Texas Secretary of State's office was notified of less than 20 instances in which voters in a small handful of these counties expressed concerns about their ballot tabulations. The concerns were raised by voters who cast a straight-party ballot on the eSlate voting machines. To these voters, the machine appeared to deselect or change one or more of their choices when they advanced to the summary page before casting their ballot. In each case, these voters were able to properly review and cast a ballot that accurately reflected the choices they made.
After detailed examination and testing of the Hart Intercivic eSlate machines during the 2016 General Election, the Texas Secretary of State's office and local election officials determined this phenomenon is caused by a voter taking an action on the machine before it has finished rendering all the choices resulting from the voter's straight-party choice. During the 2016 General Election and in subsequent guidance to election officials, the Texas Secretary of State's office provided detailed instruction to election officials and poll workers, as well as proper signage in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, and Mandarin (PDF) to election officials in each of these counties to remind voters to carefully review their summary screens before casting their ballot.
It is important for all voters in the 82 Texas counties utilizing the Hart Intercivic eSlate to understand that the voting machines are not malfunctioning, nor are they arbitrarily "switching" the choices of voters who cast a straight-party ballot.
Moreover, the Secretary of State’s office has observed a disturbing trend where misinformation is being spread regarding the scale and the impact of these reported instances. This has the potential consequence of raising unnecessary alarm about the integrity of Texas’ voting systems and discouraging eligible Texas voters from casting their ballots.
Secretary Pablos issued the following statement re-emphasizing the fact that county election officials are properly performing their duties and have been properly advised and trained to assist Texas voters casting ballots on Hart Intercivic eSlate voting machines:
"Election officials across the state of Texas are there to help all voters to ensure that every single choice they make up and down their ballot will be properly reflected before you cast their ballot and make their voice heard in this General Election. No one is more committed to ensuring the integrity of Texas' elections than the statewide and local officials who are responsible for administering those elections. The Secretary of State's office has worked diligently to foster an environment of trust and confidence which can unfortunately be eroded by misinformation, false narratives, and bad-faith accusations.
"Texans know better. Each eligible Texas voter heading to the polls during this final week of Early Voting and on Election Day can rest assured that their vote will be cast and counted exactly as they intended. My office is working every day to address the myriad issues that can arise during each election and ensure that local election officials take the proper steps to instruct, guide, and assist voters when they head to the polls. Texans are going to make their voices heard, and the State of Texas is committed to assisting all voters in doing so.
I hereby ask all Texans to pass along this message to their friends, neighbors, and families in order to help stop the rampant dissemination of misinformation, which is unduly causing great consternation for Texas voters and eroding trust in our election system."
Secretary Pablos issued the following guidance to voters and has instructed county election officials to amplify these tips for voters casting ballots in the 82 Texas counties that have chosen to employ Hart Intercivic eSlate voting machines in their elections:
As an additional resource in order to ensure that voters are able to operate the machines effectively, voters casting their ballots on eSlate voting machines can take a test run of a simulated eSlate voting machine with an interactive online application available by visiting VoteTexas.gov.
Below, please find a list of Texas counties that use Hart Intercivic's eSlate electronic voting machines in their elections. If you are voting in these counties, please make sure you ask the election officials at the polling sites for assistance, if needed: