GATESVILLE — Coryell County commissioners on Monday authorized the county’s Democratic and Republican parties to continue to conduct joint primary elections under the new countywide voting system.

The county approved a joint contract between Tax Assessor/Collector Justin Carothers, Republican Party Chairman Jack Barcroft and Democratic Party Chairman Gene Whittle to conduct and supervise the March 4 primary election and a runoff election, if needed, on May 27.

The parties traditionally held a joint primary election, but took issue along party lines over a new countywide voting system that requires electronic voting and eliminates the option of a paper ballot.

Republicans favored the exclusive use of voting machines, while many Democrats objected to losing the choice of a paper ballot.

“It is nice that both parties agreed” on the joint primary, County Judge John Firth said.

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