A grassroots election reform organization is pushing for “meaningful change … to restore faith” in local elections.
My Vote Counts in Texas has created a petition urging county and state officials to return to a more “simplistic” and “verifiable” means of voting by eschewing electronic voting in favor of hand-marked paper ballots.
The initiative was spurred after alleged irregularities were reported during last November’s elections in Dallas County. Multiple poll watchers claimed that electronic tabulators and poll books were malfunctioning, resulting in exaggerated and inaccurate voter numbers, as The Dallas Express reported.
According to My Vote Counts in Texas, there is a lack of confidence in election processes in Dallas County and other parts of the state. The organization cited a Rasmussen Reports survey that indicates 83% of Americans are uncomfortable with current election processes. Another Rasmussen Reports survey showed that 56% of likely voters believe it is “likely” that cheating will affect the next presidential election, while 33% believe it is “very likely.”
My Vote Counts in Texas claims that 54% of registered voters did not participate in local and state elections in 2022.
Shannon Barnett, a spokesperson for My Vote Counts in Texas, told The Dallas Express that many Texans do not vote for various reasons, such as distrust in the electronic voting process or a feeling that their vote does not matter. Barnett, a former election clerk and judge, claimed that controversy surrounding elections has created apathy among registered voters across Texas.
Barnett said the organization aims to bring Texas voters back to the polls with a voting system that gives them confidence that their vote counts. She said the movement, which is strictly “apolitical,” has seen support across the board from both Republicans and Democrats, as well as across different demographics.
“We don’t talk politics, and when we meet together in little groups or whatever, we say all politics and biases are left at the door,” said Barnett. “We’re Texans for Texans wanting an election that’s cost-effective, verifiable, and simplistic that brings everyone back to the ballot box to vote for the candidate of their choice, period.”
The organization’s petition calls for the state to do away with wireless electronic polling machines and return to hand-marked paper ballots, limit in-person voting to election day in neighborhood precincts, and for election results to be called the same day as voting.
“It’s a very simplistic process. We did it before, and we can do it again,” said Barnett. “It’s not rocket science.”
Barnett said she hopes that with enough community support, county commissioners around Texas will enact changes to the voting process. The organization has already begun ground campaigns in several counties, including Denton, Hood, and Dallas, among others.
My Vote Counts in Texas volunteers have been going door to door trying to generate support for the petition, which Barnett said has been positively received.
“When you go door to door, for example, or we go to an event and pick up 500 signatures just like that, and people are like, ‘Thank you, thank you! You mean after all this time, I really can make a difference,'” Barnett said.
The organization also plans to visit Austin to advocate for its proposals.
Registered voters who wish to sign the petition may do so on the organization’s website.