As the November election nears, the Tarrant County Election Board voted to use pre-printed consecutively numbered ballots to add another layer of security to elections. 

These ballots provide additional transparency to ensure ballots are not removed or replaced.

The vote was along party lines, with Republicans approving the change.

Tarrant County Judge Tim O’Hare said residents’ top request was for the next election to use pre-numbered ballots. 

“The more you can do, within reason, where people have trust that this [election] is accurate, [that] it truly reflects the vote, I think we’re all the better,” said O’Hare.

O’Hare, Tarrant County Republican Party Chair Bo French, and Sheriff Bill Waybourn all voted in favor of purchasing pre-numbered ballots, while the lone vote against was by Democrat Party Chair Crystal Gayden.

Elections Administrator Clint Ludwig, who chairs the Election Board, recused himself from the vote. Ludwig said he didn’t want to vote on a change that directed him to perform a task. 

Ludwig told commissioners that the county currently purchases blank pieces of ballot paper and distributes them to the different polling locations. The electronic voting system assigns each voter’s paper a number that can be used to track the ballot throughout the voting process. 

Now, with pre-numbered ballots, the elections administrator will assign ballots to the different polling locations. Voters will then choose a pre-numbered ballot that is laid out and mixed up to help preserve the secrecy of each voter’s vote.

French told Texas Scorecard that this change is a “step in the right direction.”

“Securing our elections is paramount. There have been many changes to the way we vote over the years,” said French. “Next up, we desperately need to close our primaries, eliminate countywide voting, and return to precinct voting.”

President of Advancing Integrity Christine Welborn agreed and told Texas Scorecard, “This is a great step in restoring trust. Texans want to be able to verify that ballots are not lost or replaced. It’s all about accuracy.”

In addition to Tarrant County adopting this practice, local officials confirmed to Texas Scorecard that Collin County—the second-largest Republican county in Texas behind Tarrant—intends to purchase pre-numbered ballots in 2025, after the county’s blank ballot stock is used up in the November election.

Emily Medeiros

Emily graduated from the University of Oklahoma majoring in Journalism. She is excited to use her research and writing skills to report on important issues around Texas.