Mock County, Texas is a mid-sized county with a population of 3.5 million people. Mock is a diverse area, inclusive of a wide variety of backgrounds and ideologies. The population includes urban, suburban, and rural areas, and residents include ranchers, white collar professionals, retirees, college kids, and blue collar workers. It has 500 polling locations and 1200 precincts.
About Our Elections
On election day, Mock County election officials experienced multiple issues with their electronic poll books. For example, some citizens showed as having voted when they had not, and officials also reported that the number of checked-in voters was increasing on its own, despite no citizens being checked in.
The issues were not limited to the pollbooks. The tabulation machines at the New Beginnings Baptist Church polling location repeatedly flashed error messages, requiring a technician from HS&S to repair. Officials at the George Washington Elementary School location couldn’t reconcile their vote count at the end of the day, which the vendor explained away as “glitch” due to “erroneous code.” Several polling locations reported chain of custody inconsistencies on several batches of mail-in ballots.
For months, Mock County election officials inquired about these issues from both Texas election authorities and the vendor – and have still not received any meaningful explanation, technical or otherwise.
As a result, Mock County is reclaiming their elections.
Elections Belong to the People
These issues, especially without honest and meaningful engagement by the state and vendors, make it impossible for Mock County to trust the accuracy of their election results. Even if they could trust the results, the system prohibits officials from reporting those results in a timely manner. Moreover, these issues are creating significant stress on Mock County election officials and further eroding public trust.
Simply, Mock County residents trust their election officials to deliver accurate election results in a timely manner, and this past election and its aftermath have proven that, in reality, Mock County officials have very little control to conduct on behalf of their citizens.
The Path Forward
When the Mock County Board of Commissioners learned about Precinct Hand Counts, they immediately recognized this as a solution to address their own concerns, reclaim control over the elections for their citizens, and restore public trust among the county population.
Despite the diversity of the Board of Commissioners, all agreed that the winner of elections should always be the candidate chosen by the people. There was also broad agreement that the current system does not instill adequate public confidence that is what’s happening.
To restore public trust, Mock County Commissioners agreed that everyone in the county must be able to verify election outcomes for themselves. The decision to move to Precinct Hand Mark and Hand Count was unanimous. For voter rolls and registration, the county then implemented the following:
- Voter Roll Control: Immediately, Mock County election officials brought the management of voter rolls back under county control.
- Voter Roll Cleanup: They then underwent a county-wide effort to ensure that every voter registration is valid and represents a real, legal American voter.
- Paper Pollbooks: The county restored paper pollbooks at the precinct level, eliminating concerns of network connectivity, and allowing the county to retire the HS&S HAL9000 machines – saving the $193,000 over 3 years.
The first Precinct Hand Count was conducted in parallel to the machine count. Precinct officials and volunteers were surprised that the HS&S results differed from the Precinct Hand Count results. The county officials, volunteers, and voters could clearly see and verify the Precinct Hand Count results, while HS&S results were unable to be verified. Within just two election cycles, Mock County citizens began re-engaging in elections because they could now verifiably trust the results. During that period, Mock County turnout has increased 26%!
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Certified Election Results and Full Video Footage.
Further, with the money saved, Mock County election workers received a 32% pay increase, and because the members of the community are back to running the community election, doubts about the election results have vanished.
Across the nation, citizens are demanding their county officials provide a fully transparent, understandable, verifiable, and accurate system of voting, accompanied by undeniable proof of how each vote was tallied.
Mock is leading the way, and Mock County Commissioners and election officials have quickly become Texas heroes, as other county citizens pressure their election officials to “be like Mock.”