Longview, TX (KLTV) -
Sometimes when you check out at a store you are asked: Paper or plastic? As far as a bagging option, that is, but when you vote can you ask paper or electronic?
KLTV asked the Gregg County Election Administrator that very question.
The voting machines are being prepared for Election Day, and those machines are all electronic except for a little piece of paper with an election code which allows a vote. Gregg County Election Administrator Kathryn Nealy says people do request paper.
“We’ll have maybe one or two each election that ask for a paper ballot,” Nealy said.
But they don’t get one. Anyone who asks is told:
“The paper is available to vote by mail, but at the polling places the voting machines are what are available,” Nealy stated.
So there is no choice at the polls in Gregg County, well other than who to vote for, or if you’re going to vote.
“If you really wanted to vote paper, what’s the only way you could do it?” I asked her.
“You can call our office and request to have a paper ballot mailed to you. You have to be over 65, disabled or out of town,” Nealy replied.
“Or one other thing,” I offered.
“Or you can be confined in jail as a minor offense, not a felony,” Nealy clarified.
Probably not the best way to make the paper choice. The vote went paperless in Gregg County back in ’95. Before that:
“We were here until 2 o’clock in the morning,” Nealy recalled.
Making sure the count went right. Now the electronic count is done:
“Normally by about nine o’clock,” Nealy said.
In Gregg County paper ballots were filled out in pencil so if there was an erasure it would have to be looked at and approved.
“Is this where the term “gray area” came from?” I asked.
“Well I think “gray area” has been here a lot longer that paper ballots,” Nealy smiled.
“I don’t know those are pretty old,” I offered.
“Paper ballots are pretty old,” she agreed.
So the answer to the question: Can you vote on paper an election day at the polls in Gregg County?
Is no. But if I just said that this story would be way too short.
We called around today and could not find one county that would accommodate a paper vote. Gregg County does offer training in using the voting machines. Just contact the Election Administrator’s Office at the courthouse if you need help.