Your voting experience at the polls should run smoother in Michigan
BERRIEN COUNTY —
Voters in Michigan will head to the polls in three weeks and some counties will be using new election equipment.
Election workers in Berrien County learned how the new systems will work Tuesday.
Michigan voters will still be able to use the traditional paper ballot, but this year there's a brand new touch screen voter assistance terminal also available.
The VAT gives people with hearing, visual, physical and other disabilities a new option.
When you're done voting, a paper ballot is printed out and fed into the tabulator.
"It's very user friendly. Before it was a very large piece of equipment. This is very small and it's kind of like having an iPad in your hand or a laptop,” said Sharon Tyler, Berrien County clerk.
The vote tabulator has also been upgraded. It's completely state of the art.
"The tabulator will move smoother, it shouldn't jam anymore. It will read if there's an issue if you over voted or you didn't vote at all. So, you will have a chance to know that your vote counts,” said Tyler.
There's only one item on the ballot in Chickaming Township, a road millage proposal that could fund repairs and maintenance of more than 40 miles of local roads.
Township officials say this smaller election is a good chance the try out the new machines.
"The old equipment has been out there for I believe for 10 years if not more. We were concerned about breakdown in the middle of an election. So I'm excited for the fact that that may not happen and the equipment is able to accept many more ballots,” said Paula Dudiak, Chickaming Township clerk.
While the traditional paper ballot is still available, this mock ballot shows there's a new feature there too.
Instead of completing the arrow by connecting the line, all you have to do is fill in the oval.
On Thursday, at Benton Harbor's City Hall, people will be able to come and familiarize themselves with the new equipment and ask questions. This won't be the last time you'll see this new equipment. It will also be available during the election in 2018.
If you live in Berrien County and would like to get a look at the new voting equipment for yourself, that open house is this Thursday.