After more than a decade, Michigan voting booths are in line for an upgrade. Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson announced Thursday the state is starting the process of replacing the election equipment that has served the state for more than 10 years in the state’s 4,800 precincts. On Thursday, the state began the process of taking proposals from election equipment vendors. The state is seeking upgraded voting systems that still use a paper ballot. The proposals need to be in by early September. “The voting equipment Michigan voters use each Election Day has served us well over the past decade, but there’s no question it’s starting to show its age,” Johnson said in a statement. “I thank Bureau of Elections staff and local election officials for their efforts to begin the process to replace the equipment before we start to see wide-scale issues with the aging equipment.”
The systems currently used across the state first started being used in 2004 and 2005 and were funded entirely by money from the Help America Vote Act. The state still has some federal money available to assist in purchasing its next generation of voting system; Michigan is one of the only states to have federal money on hand for this purpose.
Local clerks have reported to Johnson that some of their equipment has been breaking down more frequently due to its age, she said. All equipment is regularly serviced and tested before elections and those costs are covered by ongoing maintenance contracts. The state will continue to use a paper ballot.