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Distrust of voting machines throws a Texas county’s election planning into chaos

There’s no evidence the machines are insecure, but one Kerr County commissioner is pushing to get rid of them. Two elections administrators have already quit over the commotion.

By Natalia Contreras, Votebeat and The Texas Tribune
A group of volunteers demonstrate a hand count of ballots during an Election Integrity Town Hall at the Hill Country Youth Event Center in Kerrville on Aug. 22, 2023. The event was hosted by Kerr County Commissioner Rich Paces, who has since February advocated that the county get rid of its voting machines and instead use volunteers to hand count election results.

Officials reach a breaking point

Kerr County tax assessor-collector Bob Reeves sits in his office inside the Kerr County Courthouse and goes over local election procedures on Sept. 11, 2023. Reeves had been managing elections in the county since 2018 but an effort to hand count ballots and a growing distrust in local elections drove him to resign from his elections duties.

How the hand-count movement came to Kerr County

Kerr County Commissioner Rich Paces speaks to a crowd at an Election Integrity Town Hall he hosted at the Hill Country Youth Event Center on Aug. 22, 2023. Speakers at the event included Sen. Bob Hall and election conspiracy theorists Seth Keshel and Mark Cook, among others. Paces has since February been championing an effort to get rid of electronic voting equipment in Kerr County and to instead use volunteers to hand count ballots — a method that has been proven to be less accurate, less secure and more costly.

Right-wing celebrities draw a crowd

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