County elections admin says goodbye to the race

When the final ballot is counted and the last precinct’s votes come in, some assume the job of an elections administrator is finished.

Hays County Elections Administrator and Voter Registrar Joyce Cowan, who has held the position for the last 31 years, said that’s far from the truth.  

When the calendar flips on Dec. 31, Hays County residents will bid farewell to Cowan, who is retiring from her position.

While she recalled her tenure as Hays County’s Elections Administrator as challenging, Cowan feels that the efficacy of her office speaks for itself.

Cowan said she was originally hired in October 1985 by a committee of five people within the Hays County staff.

Those were the county’s tax assessor, county judge, county clerk and the Republican and Democratic chairpersons.

Cowan said her role as Elections Administrator is to serve the public, but she answers to the commissioners court, primarily the county judge. That position is currently held by Bert Cobb.

Cowan said the Hays County Elections Office is responsible for handling voting equipment and running elections all across Hays County, as well as managing voter registration for all Hays County residents.

“We are a nonpartisan office and here to serve the people,” Cowan said.

Cowan acknowledged many believe her job ends when Election Day ends. But she also says that her job is a year-long process.

“We’re still working on November elections and at the same time we are working on various runoff elections across the county,” Cowan said.

In between elections, Cowan said she and her staff are still responsible for voter registration in Hays County, but that the responsibility of running elections never ends. Cowan said the reason is that voting districts and entities in Hays County have to use the county’s voting equipment.

“The work never really ends,” Cowan said.

As for rumors that have been swirling around social media that the Nov. 8 general election could have been rigged or that election results could have been tampered with, Cowan said it was a nonissue for Hays County.

“All of our voting machines are plugged into outlets, there’s no connection to the Internet so no chance of hacking the results,” Cowan said.

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