Without general elections, without unrestrained freedom of press and assembly, without a free struggle of opinion, life dies out in every public institution... in which only the bureaucracy remains as the active element. ~ Rosa Luxemburg
In Blanco County, Optical Scan ballots are used. This means that in order to cast a vote you must bubble in the oval in front of the candidate’s name that you wish to vote for. After voting, voters place the voted ballot in a metal lockbox. The lock has a seal that is broken when the lock is opened. The County Clerk keeps the keys to the ballot boxes. After the polls close, the Election Judges deliver the ballot boxes to the County Courthouse to the County Clerk. At that time, the boxes are unlocked and the ballots are taken to the Central Counting area upstairs. A large machine (that is previously tested prior to the election) records the votes cast for each candidate on the ballot as the ballots pass through the machine. If a ballot has errors, the ballot is ejected and sent to the ballot board for analysis. The machine prints out the tallies that are then posted downstairs in the courthouse on Election Night. After the ballots are counted they are stored by precincts in the boxes and must be kept for 22 months by law. In the event of a candidate demanding a recount, the ballots are available and could be recounted. There is a definite paper trail.
Voters should not ever fold their ballots. They go into the ballot box flat so that the machine can feed them easily. Folded ballots cause the machine to possibly jam.