Traverse City News and Events

TC To Offer Demos On New Voting Equipment

By Beth Milligan | May 31, 2018

The City of Traverse City will host an open house to allow the public to test out new voting equipment that will be implemented during this year's elections.

The open house will be held Thursday, June 28 from 4pm to 6:30pm at the Governmental Center. The city's new voting equipment is part of a statewide initiative to replace voting equipment in all 83 Michigan counties, paid for with $30 million in federal Help America Vote Act funding and another $10 million in state funding. All municipalities are required to have new ballot tabulators, election management and reporting software, and accessible devices for voters with disabilities in place by the August 7 primary election.

While most voters won’t notice significant differences at the polls – with the majority still using a marker to fill out a paper ballot – the new ballot tabulator into which they feed their completed ballots will immediately alert a voter if a mistake has been made. The digital optical scan technology on the tabulators can also process ballots more efficiently – avoiding paper jams that caused confusion in the past over whether or not a ballot had been counted – and electronically stores ballot images for post-election audits. 

The most noticeable equipment upgrades will occur for voters with disabilities – and any other voters preferring to use a touchscreen rather than filling out a ballot by hand. Voter assist terminals (VATs) are touchscreen devices that will be available at each precinct for any voter to use. The ExpressVote machine works as a “fancy ink pen” allowing voters of all abilities to independently cast their vote using the touchscreen system, a sip-and-puff device, a rocker panel, or Braille-equipped remote.

To ensure voters are comfortable with using the new election equipment, any member of the public is invited to attend the open house to experience the technology. Reservations are not required, and attendees do not have to be city residents to participate.

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