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Denton County Going Back To Paper Ballots

DENTON (CBS11) – The way people vote in Denton County is changing.

Tuesday night, the Denton County Commission voted to replace its old electronic system for a new, all paper system after three recounts after the November presidential election.

“I think we are kind of going backwards in technology,” said voter Angela Cope.

Cope has never used paper ballots before and doesn’t trust them. She says she’s not sure spending almost $9 million for an all paper system is the best use of taxpayer money.

“I’ve never had any trouble with an electronic ballot,” said Cope. “I’m okay with staying with the electronic.”

Denton County had problems last November, dealing with glitches in the electronic system, ballots delivered to the wrong precincts and used ballots bundled with ballots that hadn’t been marked. Ballots were recounted, by hand, three times.

“With the paper (ballot,) we can show the vote was counted as it should have been,” said Frank Phillips, the Denton County Administrator. “If there’s a recount we got straight back to the ballot that was cast.

Phillips came on board after the elections administrator in charge of the department during the November recount was ousted.

Phillips says he knows many Denton voters are unfamiliar with paper ballots, but many elections departments across the country are returning to them. He also says “hanging chads,” associated paper ballots used the 2000 presidential elections,won’t be a problem.

The paper system is called, Verity. The paper ballot will be printed right in front of voters when they show up to vote.

Voters will mark the ballot with a pen.

Then the voter will scan the ballot into a digital scanner so their vote can be recorded.

“I think it’s a step forward from what we had,” says Denton voter Emily Meisner. “It’s $8.8 million in the right direction, and maybe it’s not going to be perfect but obviously what we had before is not working for us.”

When the state looked into Denton’s election problems, it found poll worker understaffing and under training was at fault, not the 12-year-old voting electronic system.

Denton County has hired more people in the hopes everyone will be trained in time for the next election.

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