State Approves Millions For New Voting Machines

Jan 25, 2017

Voting Machine
Credit Wikipedia Media Commons / wikipedia.org

A state board has approved spending as much as $82 million dollars over the next two years for new voting machines in every precinct in Michigan.


The funding is a mix of federal, state, and local money. 

The new machines will still optically scan paper ballots filled out by voters.  But Michigan Elections Director Chris Thomas says they will be more reliable and will have up-to-date operating systems. 

“You know, they’re computers, right?” he said.  “And like any kind of hardware and software, they’ve got a shelf life.  It’s pretty standard across the country that 10 years is when you start reaching that outer limit and start seeing a few more problems on Election Day and whatnot.” 

The first machines could arrive in some communities in time for the August local primaries, with all of them in place in time for races for governor and US Senator on the statewide 2018 ballot

Thomas says problems that turned up in the partial recount of the ballots cast on last year’s presidential election had more to do with training than technology.  A report is expected to be released in the next week or two that looks specifically at Election Day problems in Detroit.

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— Rick Pluta is the Managing Editor and Reporter for the Michigan Public Radio network. Contact WEMU News at 734.487.3363 or email us at studio@wemu.org