Iowa Caucus

In this Friday, Nov. 15, 2019 file photo, a precinct captain from Des Moines, Iowa, holds his iPhone that shows the Iowa Democratic Party's caucus reporting app.  

As political pundits recover from the Iowa voting scandal — a.k.a. an embarrassingly slow returns process — Texas Democrats pointed out last week that we too could see a delay in the March 3 primary. Yikes.

Now, before the cries about Democratic snowflakes begin: According to the Texas Tribune, officials with the state Democratic Party said top election officials cited limitations to the supposedly new-and-improved reporting system, which is used to compile returns from 254 counties. But an elections spokesman protested that, saying “any allegations that delegate allocations will not be reported on election night are categorically false.”

Why does it matter? Well, 149 delegates are at stake. Candidates will wind through a maze of numbers, a complex formula that ranks them based on vote distribution in each of Texas’ 31 state Senate districts. The Democratic party has been preparing for Iowa — Round 2, where the full delegate distribution would not be available until at least the next day. The party would not get the granular level information needed to calculate delegate distribution on election night.

Unlike Iowa, Texas could report vote totals in the primary and a Democratic candidate would be named overall winner, the Tribune points out.

“But with the presidential contest expected to be at fever pitch, any full reporting delay would slow down a final delegate tally in a state representing the second-largest prize on Super Tuesday. Texas is set to award more delegates to Democratic presidential hopefuls on that day than all of the preceding primaries combined,” reporter Alexa Ura wrote.

Not only would the fumble cause chaos for officials, but it would be an embarrassment for the second-largest state in the country. Iowa was shamed for days following their flop.

My opinion? Slow results are the least of Texas’ worries headed into #ElectionSZN. The League of Women Voters of Texas said nearly 80% of county election websites in the state are not secure, according to reports from KUT 90.5. A quick online search shows Red River Valley websites are included in that number.

The nonpartisan league’s president, Grace Chimene, told the radio station that she was “shocked” at the lack of website security demonstrated in Texas. The league found that 201 of the 254 county election websites don’t signal in their URLs that the website is secure. All of the Fannin, Lamar, Delta, River River County elections sites are unsecured URLs.

Local offices are taking measures to increase security. The Lamar County Elections Office undergoes an annual state review before election season begins, the office said. Inspection includes general procedure, such as the handling of ballots, as well as its website and cyber-security.

While tampering by foreign forces is seen as a major concern for many Democrats (not as many Republicans. I wonder why?), Texas officials are probably — rightly — feeling the heat as they prepare for the election season equivalent of the Super Bowl.

Speed and security. It’s not too much to ask, right?

Macon Atkinson is a staff writer for The Paris News. She can be reached at 903-785-6963 or macon.atkinson@theparisnews.com.

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