• September 16, 2014

Countywide voting plan moves ahead

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Posted: Friday, March 1, 2013 4:30 am | Updated: 11:53 am, Wed Jul 16, 2014.

GATESVILLE – Coryell County is moving forward with a countywide-voting plan that will let qualified voters cast their ballots at any of 11 voting centers on election day.

Five of the voting centers will be in Copperas Cove, according to the plan proposed by Tax Assessor/Collector Justin Carothers, the county’s top election official. Two others will be in Gatesville and one each in Evant, Turnersville, Oglesby and Flat.

The countywide plan mandates the use of electronic voting machines, eliminating the option of a paper ballot.

County commissioners this week cleared Carothers’ plan to be submitted to the Texas secretary of state. If approved, the plan will be used for the general election in November.

Currently, the countywide plan will only apply to general elections, but state Rep. J.D. Sheffield, R-Gatesville, has introduced a bill to include party primaries.

The county has conducted joint primary elections, but that process could hit a snag next year as there is a clear partisan split over the countywide system.

“We could not have a joint primary if one party did not agree,” Carothers said.

Coryell Republicans enthusiastically support the plan, while the executive committee of the county Democratic Party opposes the plan because it eliminates the paper ballot except for mail-in voting.

Although the plan had been touted as saving money, Carothers said the county’s 70 voting machines cannot handle a presidential election and the county will have to buy more machines to meet voter needs.

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