Farmington area voters will see new machines, smaller ballots

Voters in Farmington and Farmington Hills will notice a different look and feel to their November ballots as the cities implement more secure voting technology.

Oakland County Clerk Lisa Brown in April announced a switch to Verity, which she called “the most up-to-date election system available.” Farmington City Clerk Sue Halberstadt said the balloting process will remain much the same.

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Farmington City Clerk Sue Halberstadt demonstrates the new Verity voting system.
Farmington City Clerk Sue Halberstadt demonstrates the Verity voting system.

“The only thing that will change is the ballot will look different,” she said. “The ballot is smaller and lighter, and there are rectangles on the left instead of ovals on the right.”

The front of the new voting machine sports a large screen that shows how to insert the ballot and displays an American flag image once votes are successfully cast.

Verity voting system
The Verity screen shows voters how to insert their ballots.

Halberstadt said county officials decided to replace the existing system after experiencing a number of breakdowns with the old equipment. State funds will cover the cost; however, Farmington opted to purchase a spare machine as a precaution. Farmington Hills city council members in June authorized the purchase of six additional machines.

The new system streamlines the post-election process as well, Halberstadt said. Reports previously generated for the city are now done at the county level. Also, election workers no longer have to handle write-in votes, because the machine takes pictures of the ballots, and the county’s Board of Canvassers will review them.

“That’s a huge benefit for us,” Halberstadt said.

According to Brown, the new machines also add “the assurance of a federally certified solution.”

“Verity has security features – like preventing a ballot from being counted twice – that should instill that confidence,” she said.

Farmington voters are welcome to take the Verity system for a spin at City Hall, 23600 Liberty St., on Monday, Oct. 16, 5 p.m.-7 p.m., or on Saturday, Nov. 4 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.


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