The August Primary election is still about seven weeks away, and the people who conduct the polling are getting training on election equipment and procedures that will be used Barry County-wide for the first time on Aug.7.
Last month, city and township clerks and their deputy clerks received training on the new systems from Barry County Clerk Pam Palmer. Last week and this week, Palmer held training sessions for the election inspectors on how to process the voters. She estimates 250 people took part in training. Each unit will run accuracy tests on the equipment before the actual election.
The new machines look about the same as the former ones, but are more user friendly and efficient for elections workers. And, not being on the internet, they cannot be hacked.
Voters likely won’t notice much difference; they will still follow the same procedures with a paper ballot. The machine’s readout will let the voter know that they have voted successfully, or if an error is detected, will ask them if they want to revote.
A significant change is that the election results from townships and the city will come to the county clerk through a Virtual Private Network. The figures being sent electronically will do away with midnight trips to the Barry County Courthouse by workers from precincts bringing cards with the totals because they don’t have modem capabilities, Palmer said.
Absentee ballots will continue to be done during Election Day and by 8:30 p.m.; the county clerk should have the totals. The new voting equipment is funded entirely by the federal government under the Help Americans Vote Act, and are in every precinct in every county in Michigan, Palmer said.
Photos: (upper left) A new voting machine.
(center left) Barry County Clerk Pam Palmer goes over election rules with election inspectors.
(left) Election inspectors gathered at the Tyden Center Thursday for a training session with Barry County Clerk Pam Palmer.