In our modern electronic age cyber security and privacy have become lynch-pin issues in our national discourse.

In a democracy nothing is more important than the security and integrity of our elections. And in Hidalgo County, we have a chance to take a tremendous leap forward in our search for government transparency.

The Hidalgo County Commissioner’s Court is currently in the process of purchasing new election machines. Much to our dismay, our elections department is in the final stages of closing out a controversial handshake agreement with HART InterCivic that would spend close to six million dollars of taxpayer money on an all-electronic voting system that produces no auditable paper trail. I strongly believe that this deal is misguided, suspicious, and ultimately the wrong choice for Hidalgo County.

The primary function of any voting system should be accuracy, not speed of counting. Quite simply, I don’t care if it takes all night to count ballots so long as I know the count is accurate and verifiable. Yet, the Hidalgo County Elections Department is suspiciously resolute in its quest to purchase costly, error-ridden, failure prone, and unnecessary voting equipment. Election administration is the rare field where new tech isn’t necessarily better than old tech. Since the birth of democracy itself people have voted by raised hands or with paper ballots, with little doubt in the result of the election provided you have a good election official and vigorous community oversight.

If we want to be sure our elections are fair and free, then we need paper ballots or at least a system that produces an auditable paper trail in the event that there is any concern with the outcome of an election.

While this issue may be drowned out by the vapid partisan screeching that dominates our national discourse today, it is of utmost importance that we stand together and defend the integrity of our elections.

How can you, the Hidalgo Voter, help make sure that your vote is protected? Call your county commissioner today. Ask to speak with the commissioner himself or his chief of staff and urge him to vote no on the current deal with HART InterCivic and begin searching for a safe and secure voting machine that is backed up by paper. You can also join us at Commissioner’s Court, and address your commissioner directly during open forum.

Our elections department purchases machines about once every ten years. This creates a narrow window for us to band together and #PushForPaper now.