State will begin new voting machine rollout during primary

Aug 3, 2017

New voting machines will be phased into more than 60 communities starting next week, according to officials with the Michigan Secretary of State.

Fred Woodhams is a spokesperson for Secretary of State Ruth Johnson. He said this is the first step towards phasing in the new equipment across the state in time for the August 2018 elections.

“More than 60 communities across the state will use the new equipment. Michigan contributed more than 10 million dollars towards the new equipment and the Secretary of State has saved up 30 million dollars from a decade ago in Federal money and so there is no up front costs to local communities across the state for the new election equipment.”

Woodhams said the state had not updated its equipment since about 2004.

“The equipment was starting to show its age. We were seeing increased numbers of jams or problems on election day. Very sporadic in nature but we knew the time to act was now.”

Woodhams said while the equipment is new there won’t be any real difference in how people vote.

“So ideally voters won’t notice much of a difference when they head to the polls next week. People will receive a paper ballot, they will then mark it normally with a pen, and then feed it into a tabulator.”

Money for the machines includes 30 million dollars of federal funds accrued over the past decade and a 10 million dollar state appropriation.