With the nation facing what a January government report described as an “impending crisis” in voting technology, officials in Travis County are taking matters into their own hands by seeking to create a unique, next-generation system of voting machines.

Three years ago, DeBeauvoir decided that something had to change. “I said, ‘Okay, I’m fed up. I’m going to design my own system.’”

What you think you know about Austin is true: It is the most reliably liberal city in a conservative state. It is a transformed sleepy college town that has grown along with the rest of Texas into an economic draw. It is the sort of progressive place where politicians vote to require construction companies that receive city incentives to pay their workers a livable wage. It is largely still the same place where so-called progressive environmentalists can go toe to toe with developers.