FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
December 14, 2004
COUNTYWIDE UNIFORM VOTING SYSTEM SELECTED
Macomb County voters will be using the same voting system in future elections instead of the five different systems currently used throughout the county that include lever machines, punch cards, and three different optical scan systems. On Monday, the Macomb County Clerk / Register of Deeds selected the Accuvote optical scan voting system made by Diebold Election Systems, Inc., for Macomb County.
Each county is required to select one system for optical scan voting, as part of the Help America Vote Act and Michigan Public Act 91 of 2002. The state approved only two vendors for consideration to be the county’s sole provider: Diebold, and Election Systems & Software, Inc.
"The era of punch cards is over in Macomb County," said the Macomb County Clerk. "In other states serious issues were raised about the fairness of using different voting systems in different communities. Michigan has taken a big step forward by requiring the same system to be used countywide. Mount Clemens will use the same system as Ray Township."
In order to make this decision, the Macomb County Clerk held a public Voter Fair last year in Warren where several hundred local election workers attended, saw demonstrations from each vendor and actually used each system. She also arranged vendor demonstrations for local clerks and consulted with every local clerk in Macomb County.
"Our experience with the Accuvote system has been positive," said Walt Blessed, Sterling Heights City Clerk.
"I know choosing Accuvote was the right choice," said Michael Koehs, Macomb Township Clerk.
Among the reasons the Macomb County Clerk cited for selecting the Accuvote system are:
- The Accuvote system offers more vote positions per ballot than the other system, reducing the possibility of the need to use more than one ballot in an election.
- Diebold Election Systems, Inc. is represented in Michigan by Fidlar Election Company, with facilities in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
- Over 60% of Macomb County local clerks expressed to her a preference for Diebold over the other choice.
- The Accuvote system is used in more precincts in Macomb County than any other optical scan system and has a local track record of success.
- Local communities that used the Accuvote system generally reported results to the county clerk’s office more quickly than communities that used the other system.
- Accuvote was preferred over the other system by the majority of the several hundred people who tried each system at the Macomb County Clerk’s Voter Fair last year.
The Secretary of State’s office is finalizing county purchase plans. Under the current draft, Warren, Fraser and Ray Township will likely be the first to get new equipment and would have to order it by spring.
The following communities would likely be next: Clinton Township, Eastpointe, Harrison Township, Shelby Township, St. Clair Shores, Richmond City and Chesterfield Township.
Voters in the following communities already use the Accuvote system and will see no change in their voting systems: Center Line, Memphis, Mount Clemens, New Baltimore, Roseville, Sterling Heights, Utica, and the Townships of Armada, Bruce, Lake, Lenox, Macomb, Richmond and Washington. Warren absentee votes are currently counted using the Accuvote system.
"Michigan has a national reputation for running good elections and implementing a uniform voting system is a good thing for Macomb County," said the Macomb County Clerk. "We can also make things better by allowing no-reason absentee voting and early voting. The Secretary of State recently expressed support for these issues and I am hopeful the legislature will act on them next year."
The Macomb County Clerk made other recent reforms in the elections process including:
- County and local candidate campaign finance reports are on the Internet at http://www.macombcountymi.gov/clerksoffice. Macomb County is the largest of only three Michigan counties providing this service.
- Election results are posted on the Internet.
- For the first time this year, election results were transmitted from some local clerks to the county clerk electronically via computer.
- An election results telephone hotline provided election results this year and had no busy signals, despite heavy demand.
- Election results are available through a 24-hour, toll-free, fax-on-demand service.
1-888-99-CLERK, document #6710.
EDITOR’S NOTE: A photo of the Macomb County Clerk with the Accuvote vote tabulating machine will be available late afternoon Wednesday December 15 for your use and is copyright free at http://www.macombcountymi.gov/clerksoffice. If you prefer to take your own photo, the Macomb County Clerk and a tabulator are available in the county clerk’s office.
Out of State: 310-575-5035