MERIDIAN TOWNSHIP - Meridian Township received a grant along with other jurisdictions across the state to purchase new election equipment.
Election equipment usually has a lifespan of about 12 years, Township Clerk Brett Dreyfus says. For the first time in about 14 years, Meridian Township has new equipment.
"After all these years it was time again to get new equipment and the entire state had money available from federal money, and so we had the opportunity to do this and so did basically communities across the state," Dreyfus said. "This should last for 10 to 12 to 14 years, and there will be no more future money available from the feds or the state we've been told so in the future we're going to have to pay for this ourselves."
Dreyfus explains that the new system is smaller and lighter, along with other improvements.
"It has a digital readout, it makes it a lot easier for voters when they place their ballot in here to see that the ballot has been accepted," Dreyfus said.
Dreyfus says the old equipment had the potential to put voter privacy at risk.
"If there's a problem with the ballot in the past, the machine would kick it out while we're trying to figure out what the problem is," Dreyfus said. "Most of the time no one could see anything but the ballot was exposed."
The new equipment keeps the ballot inside until a trained employee can figure out the problem.
There will also be new equipment for anyone with disabilities, Dreyfus says, giving people a variety of input devices to be accepted like any other ballot.
There will be an open house for anyone interested in testing out the new equipment on July 26, from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and then again from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. the same day.
The equipment will be used for the first time in the August 8 election.