County voting machines called into question


Wood County was one of 29 Texas counties recently sent a letter from the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas along with Protect Democracy, the ACLU Voting Rights Project and Public Citizen urging them to adopt secure, paper-based voting machines ahead of the 2020 elections.

According to County Judge Lucy Hebron and Elections Officer Laura Wise, Wood County has not received the letter, which was announced Oct. 22.

Wood County is one of the 29 Texas counties which uses paperless machines that the groups argue present significant risk to election security. 

The letter details flaws found in current machines, including vulnerable ports used to network machines together, programming errors that allow execution of malware, and insecure or nonexistent cryptography.

The groups demand the counties use a voting system that includes an auditable, voter-verifiable paper record of every vote that cannot be altered or otherwise affected by machine failure.

“Please be advised that to the best of my knowledge Wood County is currently in compliance with state and federal voting machine requirements,” Hebron said. “We are looking into the basis for the letter. It appears to be a generic appeal or “urging” that counties upgrade voting equipment.

“I might refer you to some local counties that have recently upgraded their equipment, and at no small cost to the taxpayers. I believe Smith County was one such county. Our county is committed to following the law and being compliant with state and federal voting statutes while still being the best stewards of taxpayer monies.”