By Justin Cox

Killeen Daily Herald

A pilot program implemented in Bell County last November could be the missing ingredient for making the city's elections more reliable.

The city election that took place this month proved to be fraught with difficulties.

City Secretary Paula Miller said some of the election process could have been tainted since some voters complained of receiving improper ballots in some cases – some voters in District 3, for example, received ballots for District 2.

But Miller said Friday she may have a new plan.

In the November election, four precinct locations took part in a pilot program, which allowed the voters to pull up all their information electronically by scanning their driver's license or inputting their voter registration card information into a computer.

Bell County Clerk Shelley Coston said the program was extremely successful.

"It went so well in fact that it really expedited the process," Coston said Saturday. "We don't participate in the city elections. We have a contract with the city, we simply provide the equipment. If they wanted, we would contract to include the scanners as part of the equipment that we provide."

Coston said she believes it would be possible for the city and the county to agree on a new contract before the next election so that the system could be electronic as soon as next year.

"That information is already in the system," Coston said. "My voter registration card tells me all the proper information. ? There would have to be a new contract, but we could certainly see about making it happen."

Miller said she will be looking into that as a way to alleviate many of the problems in this election.

"That sounds great to me," Miller said. "I'm for anything that could help the elections run smooth ? where we don't have to depend on looking at it, the machines are less fallible."

Miller said the city's contract with the county is currently $1,200 each year. While she certainly believes it would go up, the rewards are likely to be worth the price.

Contact Justin Cox at or (254) 501-7568.

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