Shelby Township approves updated election equipment purchase

By: Sarah Wojcik | Shelby - Utica News | Published September 11, 2017

SHELBY TOWNSHIP — Shelby Township will be getting new election equipment, including 32 high-speed tabulators and 19 voting booths, by state mandate for a total cost to the township of $59,287.

Clerk Stan Grot said he budgeted approximately $300,000 in the township’s capital improvement plan for the new equipment, but was able to obtain a federal grant to save the township approximately $200,000.

“We are getting equipment purchased by that grant, but it’s very minimal and very basic,” he said. “Elections consist of three different segments — it’s the hardware, it’s the software, and it’s also the human element.”

Grot said the township will be purchasing the new hardware — including 29 tabulators — and software through the grant, but he recommended that the township purchase three additional high-speed tabulators in a buy-one-get-one-free deal.

“We had a window of opportunity to pick up a free machine, which is about $36,000, so we are purchasing one and getting one free. That machine will count our absentee ballots, which is about 40 percent of our elections,” Grot said.

He said the two other extra tabulators are important in case there are any breakdowns.

“This equipment is the most modern and most sophisticated equipment that is out there on the market right now,” he said. “We’re going to be able to transmit votes immediately at 8 o’clock — when the polls close — by pushing a button, and the numbers will go immediately to the county.”

Previously, he said, clerks had to manually drive the results to the Macomb County Administration Building.

“The whole county is doing the same thing,” Grot said. “Every community is doing the same thing, so it’s a huge improvement.”

The township also approved buying 500 rolls of jam-free tabulator paper, 19 regular voting booths — one for each of the township’s 18 voting locations — and two express vote systems certified to meet the standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

“The price (for the paper) is very similar if we would have gone out and bought it at Office Max or other companies,” he said. “Also, at the same time, our voting booths are very beat-up and outdated.”

Grot said he is proud that, out of a budgeted $300,000 for the new election equipment, the township will be paying $59,287, and the rest will be covered by the federal grant.

“Mr. Grot, we appreciate all of your efforts to ensure smooth elections here in the township,” Supervisor Rick Stathakis said.

The Board of Trustees voted 7-0 in favor of purchasing the new equipment Aug. 1.

For more information, call the Clerk’s Office at (586) 731-5102.