Our one page ballot

Good news.

Harris County voters and election workers can look forward to one major improvement in the upcoming March primaries: the county’s lengthy ballot now fits on one piece of paper, rather than two.

The change is due to a recent software upgrade from Hart InterCivic, the manufacturer of Harris County’s voting machines, that allows the ballot to be printed with two columns.

“We typically have one of the largest ballots in the nation,” said Harris County Clerk Teneshia Hudspeth, who took over election duties in September after the Texas Legislature abolished Harris County’s elections administrator position.

Hudspeth said reformatting the paper ballot was near the top of her list of priorities when she took on the role.


Harris County had 12,833 spoiled ballots in the Nov. 2022 election, a high volume that resulted from frequent paper jams, according to the Texas Secretary of State’s office preliminary audit findings.

Auditors found that multiple voting locations reported problems specifically with the acceptance of the second page of the ballot.

In the weeks after that election, then-Elections Administrator Cliff Tatum called for improvements to the system that would reduce the number of paper jams.

Election judges have been surprised and relieved to hear about the one page ballot, Hudspeth said.

County officials are considering it a big win, as well.

“Clerk Hudspeth and her team deserve a ton of credit for making this change happen,” said Precinct 2 Commissioner Adrian Garcia’s spokesperson Scott Spiegel. “Doing democracy in Harris County just got a whole heck of a lot more efficient because of this effort.”

Very good to hear, although one wonders what took them so long. Formatting a second column hardly seems like a breakthrough in graphic design or technological innovation. I know enough to know these things can take more time than you’d think they might, but still. Better late than never. And pour one out for Cliff Tatum, who recognized the problem but wasn’t able to be there for the fix.

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  1. Pingback: Early voting for the 2024 primaries begins today | Off the Kuff

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