LANSING (WWJ/AP) – Michigan has approved contracts to replace thousands of machines that count paper ballots in elections.

The 10-year contracts with three vendors were authorized by the State Administrative Board Tuesday. Each of Michigan’s 83 county clerks will consult with local clerks on which vendor to choose.

Secretary of State Ruth Johnson says the new equipment will be in place statewide by the August 2018 primary.

“The new equipment offers voters all the speed and convenience of the latest ballot-scanning and election-night reporting technology while at the same time featuring a good, old-fashioned paper ballot that we can always go back and look at if we need to,” said Johnson, the state’s chief elections official, in a media release.

Johnson says $40 million has been allocated to pay most of the upfront cost. Local governments will cover the rest, which will vary depending on the vendor and the cost of service and maintenance.

All of Michigan’s vote tabulators are at least a decade old.

Michigan’s voting equipment has served us well over the past 12 years, but it is nearing the end of its expected lifespan and needs to be retired,” Johnson said. “I thank local clerks for their feedback as we discussed how to replace our aging equipment as well as the support of lawmakers and the governor.”

State officials have said the recent presidential recount showed the scanners are accurate despite some problems mostly attributed to human error.

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