Elections administrators gearing up for safe, secure elections

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AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — When it comes to keeping our elections safe and secure, local elections administrators are staying on top of their game to learn about changes in the law as well as new security measures in the voting process.

Each year, those responsible for counting the votes and calling the winners, are brought up to speed at the Election Law Conference in Austin, hosted by the Texas Secretary of State.

Elections Administrators in Potter and Randall Counties said there are always more changes after a legislative session ends in an odd-numbered year.

“…there’s maybe 240 new laws specifically for elections and when you have an election code that’s over 1,000 pages, finding those 240 new laws is really hard,” said Melynn Huntley, Potter County elections administrator. “So, when we go down there, we see it in powerpoints, we are able to have some takeaways that we might miss if we were on our own trying to figure everything out.”

Huntley and Shannon Lackey, the Randall County elections administrator, said there was an emphasis on cybersecurity at this year’s conference.

“…You hear about meddling and that type of thing. So we were trained and cautioned and kind of told to prepare because as we look at the next year to year and a half of elections, we are expecting to have to be at the very top of our game,” Huntley added.

Lackey said elections administrators across the state and nationwide are concerned about the 2020 election, but their training prepares them for obstacles.

“We’re confident in what we do, we’re confident in our voters. We’re confident in our system. It’s what we don’t know that is troublesome, so we’re constantly exploring new avenues, keeping our eyes open,” Lackey said. “Even as a whole county, we are exploring more cybersecurity options and looking at that aspect of things.”

Not only is the conference for elections administrators, but also for county clerks or tax assessors—anyone whose job has to do with election management and/or voter registration.

Huntley said while most of the changes in the elections laws are small, there is one which will allow voters to see their votes posted online, so they will know their vote counted after casting their ballot.

Lackey said while the main focus was 2020, however, she does not want people to overlook the upcoming constitutional election coming up in November.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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