$40 million in new voting equipment coming soon to every Oakland County community

Oakland County Elections Director Joe Rozell testing out the county's new voting equipment, manufactured by Hart Intercivic on Tuesday, July 11, 2017 at the Oakland County Elections Office, 1200 N. Telegraph Road, Bldg. 14 East, in Pontiac, Mich.  Rozell is hoping this equipment lasts for 15 years. (Mark Cavitt/The Oakland Press)

Oakland County Elections Director Joe Rozell testing out the county's new voting equipment, manufactured by Hart Intercivic on Tuesday, July 11, 2017 at the Oakland County Elections Office, 1200 N. Telegraph Road, Bldg. 14 East, in Pontiac, Mich. Rozell is hoping this equipment lasts for 15 years. (Mark Cavitt/The Oakland Press)

By Mark Cavitt, mcavitt@digitalfirstmedia.com,, @MarkCavitt on Twitter

Posted: 07/11/17, 3:39 PM EDT | Updated: 12 hrs ago

Oakland County has selected Hart Intercivic's Verity Voting System as its new voting equipment. Hart Intercivic was one of three vendors that entered into 10-year contracts with the State of Michigan in January. This is part of a statewide initiative to replace the 12-year-old equipment being used statewide. (Hart Intercivic Facebook)

Oakland County has selected Hart Intercivic's Verity Voting System as its new voting equipment. Hart Intercivic was one of three vendors that entered into 10-year contracts with the State of Michigan in January. This is part of a statewide initiative to replace the 12-year-old equipment being used statewide. (Hart Intercivic Facebook)

The Oakland County Election Division, over the course of the next two months, will be distributing $40 million worth of new voting equipment to every community in the county.

In January, the state entered into 10-year contracts with three voting equipment manufacturing vendors to replace the 12-year-old equipment being used statewide. Each county was given the option to select one of the three vendors.

Lisa Brown, Oakland County clerk and register of deeds, held a vendor fair earlier this year and Hart Intercivic’s Verity Voting System was selected following input from local clerks.

“These voting systems are the newest digital scanning technology,” said Oakland County Elections Director Joe Rozell. “The old voting systems were analog technology. We are now able to capture images the ballots themselves. Hart Intercivic has a system that was certified in 2015 as opposed to the early 2000s. They are ahead of the curve in voting equipment technology.”

The new equipment includes optical scan tabulators, accessible voting devices, and Election Management System software.

From July 17 through July 28, 32 communities will receive their new voting equipment. These are the communities that have municipal elections in November. Royal Oak will be the second community to receive the equipment. Pontiac was the first.

The remaining 14 communities, mostly townships with elections in 2018, will receive their equipment by the end of August or early September.

RELATED: About Hart Intercivic’s Verity Voting System, hartintercivic.com

Hart Intercivic was chosen by 11 counties in Michigan as its preferred voting system provider. Rozell said he’s hoping that this new technology will help draw in younger poll workers as well.

Training required

Four equipment training sessions will be hosted by the county once the equipment is distributed. Following distribution, there will be four training sessions comprised of local clerks and their staffs.

Rozell said each training session will be done in small groups of about 15 clerks.

“We want it to be really hands on so folks can ask their questions,” said Rozell. “The training ecnompasses how to operate and troubleshoot the equipment to how to work with folks with disablities and their use of the accessible voting equipment.”

Rozell said clerks and their staff will also learn how to train poll workers on use of the new equipment.

Once the clerks and their staff are trained, it will then be the responsibility of the county and the local clerks to train all of the county’s election inspectors.

“Most of the clerks will bring their staffs with them for the training sessions,” said Rozell.

Purchasing of equipment

Rozell said the purchase of the new equipment was federally and state funded, $30 million from federal and $10 million from the state.

Those dollars will cover the purchase of the equipment and the first five years of warranty and maintenance,” said Rozell.

The county and local municipalities will begin paying in year six of the 10-year contract period.

“Beginning on year six, the county and locals will begin to pay for the warranty, maintenance and software licensing costs,” said Rozell. “The amount each local pays will be based on the number of precincts they have.”

Rozell said Hart Intercivic’s voting system would likely last longer than the previous equipment.

“We are hoping to get 15 years out of this equipment, which will reduce the overall cost of ownership,” said Rozell.