AUSTIN — Texas Secretary of State John Scott today released the second installment of ‘SOS 101,’ a series of videos educating voters about election administration in Texas ahead of the November 8, 2022 General Election. In the video, Secretary Scott provides an overview of voting systems in Texas, and the processes for certifying and deploying voting machines for use in Texas elections. Secretary Scott also visits with Hays County Elections Administrator Jennifer Doinoff during her office’s public logic and accuracy testing of voting machines held earlier this week.
“Today, you’ll be learning about voting systems in Texas, including why we use them, how they are certified, and how laws and regulations in the State of Texas help ensure that your vote is secure,” Secretary Scott says in the video.
“Here are a couple of key facts that you, as a Texas voter, should know when it comes to the Security of our voting systems: (1) voting machines in Texas are never connected to the internet; (2) only the software that our office certifies can be loaded on voting equipment; and (3) All voting machines in Texas are tested for logic and accuracy three times – twice before the election, and once immediately after the election.”
“Today, we are conducting our logic and accuracy test for our voting machines, which is required by law to be conducted publicly before every election,” Elections Administrator Jennifer Doinoff explains in the video.
“This just the first part of the public testing, we will do this again before we tally votes on Election Night, and then again after we tabulate the votes on Election Night. So we’ll make sure that the system hasn’t changed and that everything is still working and functioning as it should.”
To watch the full SOS 101 video on voting systems in Texas, click here or on the image below.
SOS 101: Voting Systems in Texas covers the following key topics:
1. Certification of Voting Systems
View a list of voting systems that may be used in Texas elections.
2. Key Facts on Security of Voting Machines
- Voting machines in Texas are not connected to the internet. In order to be certified in Texas, the machines cannot even have the capability of connecting to the internet. Electronic pollbooks certified by the Texas SOS are connected to the internet, but they are never connected to any device that casts or tabulates votes.
- Only software certified by the Texas SOS can be loaded on voting equipment. As an added security measure, Texas law requires software to go through a hash validation process to verify that the source code of any voting software was not altered in any way.
- All voting machines are required to be tested for logic and accuracy three times – twice before each election, and once immediately after.
3. Public Logic & Accuracy Testing
Texas Election Code Sec. 129.023
- The first test must be held publicly more than 48 hours before voting begins, and public notice of the test must be posted at least 48 hours in advance.
- The county testing board – which includes representatives of political parties and members of the public – must agree on a test deck of ballots for which the results are already verified through a hand count.
- The ballots included in the test deck must include votes for each candidate and proposition on the ballot, overvotes and undervotes, write-in votes and provisional votes.
- The testing board votes the ballots on the electronic voting machines, recreating the choices from the original test deck.
- The voted ballots are then tabulated, and the testing board meets to verify the results from the hand count and machine count are identical.
- Voting machines can only be deployed in a Texas election after the test shows 100% accuracy.
4. Chain of Custody and Reconciliation Procedures
- Poll workers must maintain a detailed chain of custody log of each voting system.
- Before polls open for Early Voting (October 24th this year) poll workers must confirm there are zero votes cast on each machine and print a tape verifying zero votes cast.
- Once all votes are counted on Election Night, each county must complete and publicly post a Preliminary Election Reconciliation for Unofficial Totals (PDF) that shows: how many ballots were cast, how many people signed in at the polling place, how many mail-in ballots are accepted or pending.
- Mail ballots arriving from military members overseas may be received up to the 6th day after Election Day this year (November 14th), which is the same deadline for voters casting mail-in ballots to correct a defect such as a missing ID number or signature.
- Within 72 hours of the polls closing on Election Day (November 8th this year), each election office must conduct a partial manual count to ensure the votes were tabulated accurately, using votes from 1% of precincts or 3 precincts, whichever is greater.
- Once the county has completed its official canvass of votes, county election officials must complete and publicly post their final Election Reconciliation for Official Totals (PDF), which includes the number of:
- Early Voting check-ins and counted ballots
- Election Day check-ins and counted ballots
- Voters who cast a ballot by mail, and how many were accepted and rejected
- Provisional ballots submitted, counted and rejected
- Mail ballots not returned or surrendered
To read more about security procedures regarding Texas election systems, read our Election Security Best Practices Guide for county officials (PDF).
To learn more about voting systems in Texas, visit www.votetexas.gov/voting/voting-systems