Starr County holds public trainings for new election machines

The Starr County elections department is holding trainings for the county’s new voting machines two weeks before early voting begins.

The machines were purchased earlier this year, updating the county’s machines for the first time in about 14 years.

John Rodriguez, the county elections administrator, said the machines work the same way the old ones did except the equipment is better and more modern.

“These are way better and that’s why we wanted to do this — for the community, for the voters — so they can come in and be familiar with these new machines so they won’t be afraid of them when it comes to election time,” Rodriguez said.

The only difference with the ExpressVote machine is that it will print out a sheet with a voter’s candidate selections which the voter will then submit to the other machine, the DS200 scanner and tabulator machine.

The county purchased 22 of the DS200 machines and 20 of the ExpressVote machines from Election Systems & Software for about $180,000 which the county will pay for over a period of five years.

Trainings for the machines will be held through Thursday this week at various sites throughout the county.

Registered voters are invited to stop during a three-hour window to ask questions and try out the machines for themselves.

“We have a demo there so they can actually use the machines and then vote with them,” Rodriguez said. “It’s just for people to be familiar with the new equipment that’s going to be there in this November election.”

Monday’s training session was held at the El Cenizo Park Bldg. and the sessions for the remainder of the week will be held from 3 to 6 p.m. at the following locations:

>> Tuesday, Oct. 9: Commissioners Courtroom at the Starr County Courthouse, 401 N. Britton Ave., Rio Grande City

>> Wednesday, Oct. 10: La Rosita Public Library, 4192 West US Highway 83, Rio Grande City

>> Thursday Oct. 11: Roma Community Center, 502 6th St., Roma