A Letter to McLennan County Voters from Kathy Van Wolfe

Dear McLennan County Voters
After an extensive, 18-month long research effort by my office, a new voting system has been selected for use in McLennan County. Beginning with the November 8, 2005 Constitutional Amendment Election, the eSlate polling place voting system and the Ballot Now digital ballot imaging system from Hart InterCivic, Inc. will replace our 21-year old optical scan system. If you are an absentee voter, you will vote on a paper ballot. If you vote in person, you will vote on a state-of-the-art voting system on which many millions of votes have been cast accurately and securely.

The purchase of this new system is necessary to comply with the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) signed into law by the President on October 29, 2002. This new law that requires that voting systems be accessible to people with disabilities so that they may cast a private and independent vote. It also appropriates funds to assist counties with the purchase of new systems. Federal funds will cover the cost of the new system.

I want to take this opportunity to share some system facts with you and to provide simple instructions through this website on using the new system.

Our system is secure. From the generation of the ballot by our office to the tabulation of votes at our centralized counting center, security measures are in place to ensure no unauthorized individual has access to the system. Neither the vote tabulation program nor any other component of the eSlate System is ever connected to the Internet or an external network at any time.

Our system is accurate. The eSlate system uses a state-of-the-art optical encoder, called the SELECT wheel to navigate through the ballot. This technology provides 100% positional accuracy at all times.

Our system is durable. Because the eSlate is not a touch screen, it is extremely durable, withstanding most harm from rough treatment, thus eliminating the costs of repair.

Easy to Use
Our system is easy to use. Whether voting absentee on our new paper ballot or in person on the eSlate, a review of the system on this website will show how simple each is to use. The eSlate also meets all federal accessibility requirements.

Our system is truly bilingual. As required by Federal mandates, all absentee ballots will now be printed in both English and Spanish. Voters who vote on the eSlate at the polls during Early Voting or on Election Day will choose between an English or Spanish ballot. In an effort to ensure all voters are aware of the new voting system and how to use it, we will be providing voter education through a number of venues: live demonstrations, newsletters, Websites, emails, newspapers, videos on cable stations, and at your polling places.

Be sure to try the demo, “take the eSlate for a spin.” And, as always, if you have questions about the new system or would like to find out more about becoming a poll worker, please call us at 254-757-5043.

Kathy E. Van Wolfe Signature
Kathy E. Van Wolfe, McLennan County Election Administrator