By Justin Cox
Killeen Daily Herald
For the next 10 days, all Bell County residents can take part in the early voting process for the primary presidential election.
At Tuesday’s Bell County Commissioners Court meeting, County Clerk Shelley Coston, with the support of the commissioners on hand, outlined the schedule for early voting. It includes weekend operating hours for the period that started Tuesday and ends Friday, Feb. 29.
Election clerk Jana Henderson gave a demonstration of the ES&S AutoMark Voter Assist Terminal to the court as well.
The terminal makes use of an optical scan paper ballot that tallies all the votes electronically, but also provides for an independent counting of all the votes by hand.
She demonstrated the terminal’s accessibility for handicapped people as well. The terminal has space for a wheelchair and can be used by quadriplegics.
The terminal has a touch-screen interface, and Henderson showed the program’s design, which is simple.
“It’s easy, and it’s simple,” Henderson said. “It’s got a summary screen as well, which allows you to review your votes and go back to make changes if you like. All the machines are tested prior to deployment so that they have plenty of ink and paper. They are designed to have enough ink each to last for several elections, but we check them before they go out every time.”
Commissioner Richard Cortese praised the system.
“We’re one of the few counties who are as compliant,” Cortese said, noting that everything from the programming, to the setup, to the maintenance is handled by Henderson’s small four-person staff.
There are six locations that Bell County residents may choose if they decide to vote in the primary, and no person is limited to a specific location.
The locations are as follows:
Belton — Bell County Courthouse Annex at 550 E. Second Ave.
Killeen — Bell County Annex at 301 Priest Drive and at the Killeen Community Center at 2201 E. Veterans Memorial Blvd.
Harker Heights — Harker Heights Parks and Recreation Center at 307 Miller’s Crossing.
Temple — Bell County Annex at 205 E. Central Ave.
Salado — Salado Civic Center at 601 N. Main St.
Until Friday, the operating hours for each center will be from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. On Saturday, the stations will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. On Sunday, polls will be open from noon to 5 p.m.
From Monday through Friday, Feb. 29, voting will be from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Following early voting, the stations will be closed until March 4, the day of the primary election.
Contact Justin Cox at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (254) 501-7568