Bell County official explains 'Super Tuesday' ballot shortages - KXXV Central Texas News Now

Bell County official explains 'Super Tuesday' ballot shortages


Bell County election officials say record voter turnout caught them by surprise on Tuesday and left them a bit unprepared when they quickly ran out of paper ballots.

According to those officials, the number of voters who showed up to the polls, doubled in the last four years—with just under 20,000 ballots cast in the 2012 primary elections and over 40,000 cast yesterday.

The dramatic increased provided a unique problem for election administrator, who told News Channel 25, that they were very happy to see more people voting.

But, all of those unanticipated voters also led to long lines across the county and even ballot shortages at about half a dozen polling places.

It eventually got to the point where some people had to fill out sample ballots and many locations ended up staying open well passed the mandated 7 p.m. closing time.  

Many concerned viewers called News Channel 25, wondering how that can even happen.

We asked Bell County Election Administrator, Shawn Snyder, who said they ordered ballots based on a formula from the state that uses projections from the previous election cycle.

Meaning, in this case, they placed that order with 2012 voter turnout in mind.

“This really became a problem because one—we had record turnout and two—Bell County is lucky that we are just growing by leaps and bounds,” Snyder said, “We did use the state's formula in order to guesstimate how many ballots to get and we even over engineered by 25 percent to try to meet the demand of our growing communities. [But] It was just so much more than that."

Following yesterday’s ballot issues, Snyder said his office is now looking into ways to keep this from happening in future elections. Some potential changes could include upgrading to computerized voting systems, which would help reduce Bell County’s reliance on paper ballots.  

However, Snyder also wants voters to know that because many of these upgrades will be expensive and could impact taxpayers, they’ll be taking their time before making any decisions.

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