By K.D. Norris
Kent County, and the cities of Wyoming and Kentwood, will have new voting machines in place by later this year as part of a Michigan state-wide upgrade of voting machines — and City of Wyoming clerk Kelli VandenBerg says she is pleased with the selection process and anticipates local voters will be pleased with their new experience.
“Any resident who has voted in the precinct will notice that this is new equipment – but that doesn’t mean there will be a steep learning curve or longer lines at the polls,” VandenBerg said in an interview with WKTV. “One of the key aspects in selecting this particular vendor is that the technology is much improved over our old equipment. This equipment is also much more user friendly.”
After a months-long review and selection process, and after the State of Michigan approved three qualified vendors, Kent County Clerk and Register of Deeds Lisa Posthumus Lyons recently announced Dominion Voting Systems, Inc. as the vendor of choice for Kent County’s purchase of new election equipment.
According to a press release from the county clerk’s office , the new voting machines will first be used by all local voting bodies in Kent County starting with the November 2017 election. Some clerks across the state reportedly plan to use their new machines as early as the August 2017 election. All municipalities are required to have the new machines in place by the August 2018 election.
“My priority for Kent County’s new election system is to provide high quality equipment, the assurance of security, and a positive experience for the voter; each of the systems we considered would accomplish this in unique ways,” Lyons said in supplied material. “At the end of the day, my decision came down to the reliability and customer service for which Dominion is known, and its partnership with ElectionSource, an election services provider located right here in Kent County, which also has a proven track record for first class service.”
Lyons said here decision was based on input from local municipal clerks; improved features of the machines and software, including election-night result reporting for the public; high-speed absentee ballot-counting capabilities for local jurisdictions; and overall cost. Working with a local vender was also high on her list.
“We are supporting our local economy by working with a business located in our own back yard,” Lyons said in the press release.
“Kent County is very fortunate that our Elections Director (Susan deSteiguer) was involved in the committee that did the review,” Wyoming clerk VandenBerg told WKTV. “We also have our new County Clerk with Lisa Posthumus Lyons (involved). I understand her process was very thorough — she took a lot of notes and asked a lot of great questions. Kent County was well-represented in the selection process, and I am very comfortable with how we chose the new equipment.”