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Protecting Voter Privacy and Ballot Secrecy

Last updated on June 14, 2024

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Rockwall, TX-June 13, 2024 – How would you feel if someone could look up who you voted for through legally obtained publicly available documents? Is it possible that efforts to make Texas elections more transparent pose threats to ballot secrecy?

“Ballot secrecy is the foundation of our election system and the bedrock on which this country is founded,” said Rockwall County Judge Frank New. “When ballot secrecy came under attack, we acted immediately with limited redactions to ensure a ballot cast in Rockwall County is always a secret ballot.”

There has been an increase in requests for election records in Texas since 2020, driven by concerns about voter fraud. While efforts are being made to make Texas elections more transparent, there remain concerns about threats to the secrecy of the ballot. To address this, the election division director for the Texas Secretary of State’s Office issued emergency guidance to counties to protect ballot privacy.

To ensure voter ballot secrecy, polling locations will not be displayed on turnout rosters or individual Cast Vote Records. Additionally, certain information will be removed from ballot images before they are made available for public inspection. If someone requests these records under the Public Information Act, they will need to agree to certain redactions or wait for the County Elections Office to request an open record ruling from the Office of the Attorney General. “If the ruling comes back stating that we must furnish the records as requested, we will do so,” answers Rockwall County Elections Administrator Chris Lynch.

Judge New emphasizes that public records must be accessible without compromising the secrecy of voters’ choices, crucial for free elections in Rockwall County.

Press Release: Protecting Voter Privacy and Ballot Secrecy

Submitted by: Jim Barto, Rockwall County Public Information Officer

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