Record turn out & new app to fast track voting

The dust has started to settle after the Super Tuesday Primaries. While the candidates are moving on to the next race, election coordinators are looking at: what went right and what went wrong.

Electronic voting machines started going into storage Wednesday after a busy Super Tuesday. Election officials in Williamson County and Travis County say turnout was basically off the chart.

"We think it was a record here in Williamson County, We had almost 100,000 voters,” said Elections Administrator Christopher Davis.

Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir and her staff were expecting a Registered Voter turnout somewhere around 30%.

"It was a very big night, in fact we ended up turning out somewhere between our 2008 high water mark and the 2012 next high water mark,” said DeBeauvoir.

But big numbers also cause big problems. For several hours it wasn't possible to access the Travis County website.       

The overload also hit the state elections website as well as a portion of Williamson County's site.
Elections Administrator Christopher Davis says many of the sites that had problems are managed by a cloud based vendor.

"We think they could not handle the volume at that point in time, but they got it fixed right when we were about to enable our alternative solution the vendor's service came back up,” said Davis.
         
Steps are now being taken to improve capacity and to have back-up sites that are easier to locate.

There was also an old school access problem on Election Day; it involved the very long lines. The solution may involve your smartphone."

Williamson County and Travis County are among 30 counties in Texas that allow voters to cast a ballot at any polling place. Many apparently didn't know that Tuesday, so while the line at U.T. may have felt like it was 40 acres long, there were locations like this one in south Austin with very little traffic.

"Everybody seems to be able to find the popular places but there are places to go where you don’t have to wait, and we are trying to find a way to communicate that,” said DeBeauvoir.

Programmers in the Williamson County I.T. department have already created a wait time notification system.  A soft launch took place Super Tuesday.

"We are asking our poll workers  throughout the day, whether in early voting or election day, to put in wait times, to actually eyeball the line of voters if there is one, and actually put in their estimated wait time in a simple table on line,” said Davis.

That data is converted into a simple mapping program. Polling sites are marked with red dots- - windows that open reveal wait times. A smartphone shortcut that looks like a typical app makes access fast and easy.
Other counties have already started contacting Williamson County about how the system works.

The Texas Secretary of State also received inquiries about votes that allegedly were changed by electronic ballot machines. Officials tell FOX 7 that no actual cases of that happening were verified. 

To see the Willamson Co. Wait Time page, click here

Up Next:


  • Popular

  • Recent

WATCH FOX 7 NEWS LIVE

FOX 7 News streams at the following times (all times Central):


Monday - Friday

4:30 a.m. - 10 a.m.

12 p.m. - 12:30 p.m.

5 p.m. - 6 p.m.

9 p.m. - 10:30 p.m.

Saturday

6 a.m. - 8 a.m.

6 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

9 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Sunday

6 a.m. - 8 a.m.

5 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

9 p.m. to 10 p.m.



Schedule subject to change in the event of network sports coverage.

We also stream press conferences and other breaking news coverage from time to time. When we are not in a live newscast, you will see replays of the most recent broadcast.

To enter full screen Mode click the button.

For closed captioning, click on the button while in full screen mode.

Desktop/tablet users: To choose the stream's video quality, click on the button (while in full screen mode) and choose from 432p or 270p.

Mobile users:The video quality default is to your phone's settings.

Please allow time for buffering. If the stream stalls, refresh your browser. Thanks for watching

Stories You May Be Interested In - Includes Advertiser Stories