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Voters vet new voting equipment

New voting equipment cannot be hacked, says Berrien County Clerk // WSBT 22 Photo

We're less than three weeks away from the election in Michigan.

Earlier this week we told you about the new voting machines voters will be able to use.

People in Benton Harbor got to test out the new technology for themselves Thursday.

Many of the people WSBT spoke to say they were impressed with the new system.

One question on some people's minds is how safe and secure these new machines are.

Recently the Department of Homeland Security told 21 states that hackers targeted their election systems before last year’s presidential election.

Berrien County Clerk Sharon Tyler says that's not possible with this new technology the county will roll out for the first time in November's election.

"We had a lot of questions on security before in the last election and we were not on a modem at that time either, and that's why I selected the equipment we did. It was rated the number one out of three vendors through the secretary of state to choose from,” said Tyler.

People opting to use the voter assistance terminal, also known as the "VAT," are given a card with the ballot information on it.

Once you're done voting using the touchscreen, a paper ballot is printed and the data on the card is completely wiped out.

It cannot be passed on to another person.

Christy Payne, an election worker, came to check out the new equipment for herself.

She says the old equipment caused a lot of problems.

The new tabulator has a simple to read screen and will identify mistakes on the ballot quickly.

"It jammed all the time, all the time, so I think this new one is going to be so much better and it's so much easier to read,” said Payne.

Tyler says it cannot be hacked.

There is only one time a modem is used.

"After the tape from the tabulator counts all the votes throughout the day, it will come off the tabulator then the local clerk will send the information through a modem to my office, but we will already have the hard copy of the tape,” said Tyler.

Payne says the VAT is a good option for the tech savvy.

Plus it has controls for people with hearing, visual, physical and other disabilities.

"I tested it out and I was there less than a minute to do it, and I'm out the door. I think that's going to be a pleaser and a go-to for a lot of people who are on a time restraint,” said Payne.

The traditional paper ballot will still be available during the election.

The only difference is instead of completing an arrow, all you have to do is fill in the oval.

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