Correction: This story has been updated to include a clarification from Potter County Republican Party Chairman Dan Rogers about the hand-marked paper ballots.
AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — The Potter County Commissioners Court voted down a resolution on Monday brought forward by the Potter County Republican Party that would have changed election processes.
The request was made by Dan Rogers, the Potter County Republican Party Chairman, to eliminate voting centers and voting machines and return to voting with hand-marked paper ballots. It is similar to a request the group made in December of 2021.
Rogers said he believes Potter County should go back to voting by precinct because he said it would give them an accurate count of how many people voted. He also said voters do not have confidence in the electronic system.
“And they don’t understand how Trump lost because this, that, and the other, but if we go to a system that we had before, people had confidence,” Rogers said. “And we think people are losing confidence in their elected officials, and they’re losing confidence in their government, and that’s a bad thing. We just want a system that the voters can have confidence in, and it’s hard to beat paper.”
Potter County Judge Nancy Tanner said the commission heard public comments before voting against the resolution.
“The entire commission was like, ‘No, we’re sticking with what we have.’ Because the vote centers is the best thing that’s happened since sliced bread,” Judge Tanner said. “It’s a convenience thing for the people, and the people love it. They love it, and as far as the machines, we’ve never found anything. There was one mistake made, but it was human error.”
On the topic of voting machines, Judge Tanner also said, “It’s not hooked up to the internet, so it’s not like someone can get in and change your vote.”
During our interview on Tuesday, Rogers said, “No, it has to be connected, it’s connected to the internet.”
When he was told that Potter County officials said voting machines are not connected to the internet, Rogers replied, “Well, they’re lying.”
Potter County Elections Administrator, Christy Benge, said they have a paper-verified system, where voters use the machines to vote. Then, they check a paper printout to review their choices before casting their ballot.
She said there is no evidence that hand-marked and counted ballots would be any more accurate than voting machines.
“I’ve never worked with paper ballots, hand-counted paper ballots, but the more you put the human hand in, the more room there is for error,” Benge said. “You know, we’re all human. We all make mistakes. But what we do after an election to kind of verify that machines are working, and they are accurate, we have to conduct what’s called a partial manual count.”
Benge said they also have several processes to be transparent while protecting the secrecy of the ballot, including local and accuracy testing, poll watching, and live streams.
“We also have state inspectors, and the state inspectors come to all of our votes center sites, just about every election, and they make sure that we’re following all of the laws and procedures,” she added.
According to Benge, they surveyed voters about voting centers during last week’s election.
“We wanted to know if they still liked having a choice of where to vote, and out of the people that took our survey, 99% of the people still liked having that choice,” she said.
Rogers said the Potter County GOP was disappointed that the commission voted against the resolution.
“Several of those county commissioners that told me they were 100% for it. They agreed with me and were on our side, and yesterday, they voted the other way. So they lied to me and to my executive committee, and we’re gonna hold them accountable,” Rogers said. “We’re not gonna stop until we solve the problem. We care about our community and our voters. It’s sad that our elected officials don’t.”
“I just don’t get it. He doesn’t trust the machines, and the machines are what we’ve used for years and years and years, and they work,” Judge Tanner said. “He is adamant about getting a change, and I just don’t see this council—or this commission doing it.”