Fort Bend County made it official on Tuesday that it will begin using new voting machines with a paper ballot beginning in May.

The Commissioner’s Court approved a resolution to use the EVS 6020 voting system from ExpressVote, which produces a paper ballot to the voter to check votes.

The county has finalized the purchase of the machines and other devices and materials and will be ready for use for the May 2 elections, which will be city and school board elections and runoff primary elections. The machines will also be used for the November elections.

Voters will use the electric tabulation device — which has a touchscreen and is ADA compliant — to make their selections, then another machine would print out the record of the selections. The voter will then place the ballot into a tabulator machine.

Precinct 2 Commissioner Grady Prestage and Precinct 3 Commissioner Andy Meyers were the two commissioners who were tasked to help Fort Bend County to find a new voting system.

“We believe that this is the best overall system,” Meyers said. “We believe as people get familiar with it, it will be a simpler system to vote on. And it will also provide a paper ballot.”

Prestage added that the new machines will be implemented in May “so that they can be ready for the November election.”

“The comment I heard from so many community members is that (do the machines) have a paper ballot?” Fort Bend County Judge KP George said. “So that’s why Commissioner Prestage always said, it gives confidence to the public. So I’m looking forward to this day, May 2. It’s going to be a step forward for us.”

Commissioners also unanimously approved an increase to the hourly wage of Fort Bend County election judges to $13 per hour and the hourly wage of Election Day clerks to $12 per hour.

Also, the hourly wage of Fort Bend County Early Voting clerks were raised to $12 per hour and the hourly wage of the presiding clerk at each early voting site to $13 per hour.

The raises will begin with the March 3 primary election.

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