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Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir says she's retiring

Gabriel C. Pérez
Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir demonstrates how to vote using an analog voting machine in the Travis County Courthouse in 2018.

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Longtime Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir says she's retiring.

DeBeauvoir, 67, has been in charge of elections and other crucial administrative functions in Travis County since 1986. In an announcement Friday, she said she won't seek reelection when her term expires next year.

Ever mindful of elections, DeBeauvoir said she wanted to make the announcement before Saturday, the day the filing period opens for whoever seeks to replace her.

"I think that once you conduct your first election and it’s in your blood, then it has you for the rest of your life."
Dana DeBeauvoir

It’s a position that handles everything from marriage licenses to court records to elections. That last responsibility has been a particular focus for DeBeauvoir.

“You know I have loved this job so much — all of it — but especially the elections part. I think that once you conduct your first election and it’s in your blood, then it has you for the rest of your life," she told KUT. "And I think one of the things that we’ve tried to teach … young voters is that once you start voting, it becomes a habit for life. And I have always hoped that the voters that I reached out to when they were young are still voting today.”

DeBeauvoir also worked for more than a decade designing a one-of-a-kind ballot system that pioneered security features that are now commonplace in most U.S. voting machines.

She told KUT that she decided to retire on Election Day earlier this month, and that she plans on doing national and international election-related work — work that wouldn't be possible heading into the 2022 midterm elections.

"I struggled with it ... but what really kind of tipped me over the edge is I'd really like to do international elections work and do some work nationally on elections, on audits and elections ethics," she said. "And there's no way I can do that with the workload that this office normally has, and we're coming into a year where the workload is going to be particularly heavy."

DeBeauvoir said she will continue on until early 2022, and that she’s going to recommend her deputy, Dana Hess, take over the role on an interim basis until her position is up for reelection next November.

Andrew Weber is a general assignment reporter for KUT, focusing on criminal justice, policing, courts and homelessness in Austin and Travis County. Got a tip? You can email him at Follow him on Twitter @England_Weber.
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