Heavy voter turnout brings call for updated equipment

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LANSING, Mich (WLNS) – It has been a busy day at voting precincts and it looks like lots of people here in mid-Michigan are making their voices heard today.

Although many areas in mid-Michigan are seeing increased numbers for absentee ballots there were long waiting times through the day.

Election officials say some of those issues could be solved with changes in voting regulations in the state.

Across the board Ingham County clerk Barb Byrum says Michigan is behind when it comes to the voting process.

“In the state of Michigan we could definitely improve the voting experience,” says Byrum. “We have some of the most restrictive voting rules and regulations.”

Local election officials reported high numbers in absentee ballots but Byrum believes there are more improvements to be made.

“Early voting, no-reason absentee voting so that people can exercise their right to vote and not have to stand in line at the polls or take a day off of work,” suggests Byrum.

And more absentee ballots means not just shorter lines but less stress on the volunteers at polling places.

“The more absentee ballots, the less work we have to do here,” laughs poll volunteer Rebecca Leefers.

And another way to make the process smoother?

Bring equipment up to date.

“As time progresses we do need to revaluate and see how things can be done better and more efficiently,” suggests voter Sarpenia Stewart.

Byrum says those changes could be coming in the near future. “The Secretary of State is in the process of certifying new election equipment.”

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