Secretary of State Ruth Johnson is moving forward with plans to replace aging voting machines around the state with “next generation” systems by August 2018. The State Administrative Board on Tuesday unanimously approved up to $82.1 million in spending over the next 10 years under contracts with three vendors who will supply new tabulator machines, election-management software and maintenance agreements. The state is expected to cover about $40 million of the spending, including most up-front costs, leaving local communities to foot the rest of the bill. Cost-sharing requirements will vary by community depending on which vendor local clerks select. “The new equipment offers voters all the speed and convenience of the latest ballot-scanning and election-night reporting technology while at the same time featuring a good, old-fashioned paper ballot that we can always go back and look at if we need to,” Johnson said in a statement.
Some local communities including Detroit could secure new voting equipment by the 2017 August primaries, according to Johnson’s office, which said all equipment will be replaced by the 2018 primaries. The state expects local governments to cover long-term maintenance costs for the machines. The new contracts approved Tuesday are with Dominion Voting Systems of Toronto, Election Systems and Software of Nebraska and Hart InterCivic of Texas, which Johnson’s office said will provide systems that have been successful in other states.
Michigan last bought new voting machines in 2004 and 2005. A state Senate Fiscal Agency report noted the machines still run on the Windows XP operating system, which Microsoft has not sold since 2008 and for which it stopped providing support and security updates in 2014.
“They’re computers, so like any kind of hardware and software they’ve got a shelf life,” said Bureau of Elections Director Chris Thomas. “It’s pretty standard across the country that after 10 years is when you start reaching that outer limit and start seeing a few more problems on Election Day.”
Full Article: Michigan moves on $82M voting machine plan.