Following a meeting of the Potter County Commissioners Court this week, the Potter County Republican Party has ended its plan to use hand-marked, hand-counted paper ballots in the upcoming March 1 primary election.
In a statement issued on Thursday, Potter County GOP Chairman Dan Rogers said that because Potter County planned to continue using the countywide voting center system, the primary election would have required some polling places to use paper ballots while others would have used electronic voting machines, meaning that one standard voting method would not be used countywide for the primary. Therefore, Rogers said, the party had decided not to hold the primary using paper ballots since not all voters would be able to cast a ballot on paper.
The announcement came after headlines emerged last week that the Potter County Republican Party would be holding its primary election using paper ballots. Last week, Rogers had said the county party planned to at least have its Election Day voters vote on paper. That statement was backtracked by Rogers with the announcement this week.
Rogers’ full statement can be read below:
On Monday, December 27, 2021 the Potter County Commissioners’ Court failed to pass the Potter County GOP’s resolution to withdraw from the Texas Secretary of State’s Voting Center Program, which would have made it possible for the Potter County GOP to perform a primary election with hand-marked ballots. Because the Potter County Commissioners’ Court has chosen to remain in the Voting Center Program, early voting must be electronic by law. The reasoning given by the leadership of the Commissioners’ Court and a very few other candidates for preferring electronic voting over hand-marked ballots was fear the election workers would either not count or would fraudulently rip up or discard any hand-marked ballot that contained a vote for them.
Had Potter County instead elected to withdraw from the Secretary of State’s Voting Center Program, our party could have used the Election for Administrator’s optical scanner to count the votes and hand verify the hand-marked original ballots as had been done in years past. Clearly, some of our elected officials and candidates distrust the members of the community who would work the election and distrust original authenticated hand-marked ballots, instead placing their trust in coders over voters. Therefore, the only option left to us to use hand-marked ballots would require Republican voters to use two different voting methods, electronic for early voting and hand-marked ballots for election day, each with different polling locations. Given the aforementioned concerns, we no longer seek to hold a separate primary due to the inability to fulfill our purpose.
Our commitment to hand-marked ballots will continue. Our position stands that an electronic vote is merely evidence of a vote, whereas; an actual hand-marked, tangible, original paper ballot submitted by the voter at the polling place is self-authenticated. We will continue to further advocate for ideas and solutions voters can be confident in that require hand-marked ballots and are cost-effective, reliable, secure, and superior in preventing fraud.