LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – When Louisville voters head to the polls next week, they’ll encounter several noticeable changes since the last major elections in 2016.

The Jefferson County Board of Elections is debuting $3.2 million in new equipment for Kentucky’s primary elections, including touch-screen machines at every voting location and scanners that tabulate ballots.

The familiar blue-and-beige booths that were mainstays of precincts for years have been replaced with red-white-and-blue partitions. Also confined to the past are pencils; voters now will use pens to fill out paper ballots.

The new machines are part of an upgrade of aging equipment that dates back to 1997 and was purchased by the elections board with federal funds and bond proceeds approved in Metro government’s budget for the 2017 fiscal year. The total price tag is $4.2 million.

The touch-screen machines are meant for all voters, said Nore Ghibaudy, an elections board spokesman.

“Anyone can use that,” he said. “I think a lot of people always think that those are for folks who are impaired. But that’s not necessarily true. You can either mark the ballot or you can use the touch screen.”

The machines are not connected to the internet and are not at risk of being hacked, Ghibaudy has said.

Some voting sites also have changed; elections officials urge people to check before going to vote.

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