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Llano County to digitize election records

Jennifer Geisheimer, Andrea Wilson, Tiffany Volking

Llano County Elections Administrator Andrea Wilson (center) with representatives of document management firm Vista Group Solutions, which will be handling the digitization of Llano County election records. Vice President of Operations Jennifer Geisheimer (left) and Texas Territory representative Tiffany Volking were at a recent Llano County Commissioners Court meeting. Staff photo by Dakota Morrissiey

Llano County commissioners voted to allocate $20,000 toward the digitization of county election records during their regular meeting on Monday, Feb. 27. An outside firm will collaborate with the county to make election records electronically available by July 2023. All future election data also will be digitized.

Commissioners unanimously approved the money from a non-departmental fund at the request of Llano County Elections Administrator Andrea Wilson. Digitizing election records will make them more accessible, streamline work, and prepare the county for future state audits.

“Basically, right now, a lot of what we do in our office is on paper,” Wilson told the Commissioners Court. “What I’d like to be able to do is move everything into an electronic format so that it is easier to access for Public Information Act requests.”

Austin-based document management firm Vista Solutions Group will create a dedicated server for Llano County to hold all election records for easy access. The process will also make it simpler to redact confidential information from public records requests and prevent excessive work to complete those requests.

“We get a lot of Public Information Act requests, and in order for us to facilitate those quickly and easily at the best cost, we need to be digitizing from the get-go,” Wilson said. “The public has a right to know.”

She also cited state audits as a reason to go electronic. The Texas Secretary of State’s Office randomly selects four counties to hit with a full forensic election audit every two years, and according to Wilson, Llano County could be called upon to provide the entirety of its election records when that happens. Electronic filing will make this inevitable process go more smoothly.

“(The audits) keep us all held accountable to ensure that everything is going exactly how election law is spelled out,” Wilson told after the Commissioners Court meeting. “(The electronic record keeping) is gonna tell us where any gaps are.”