THE MACOMB COUNTY CLERK ANNOUNCES ONLINE ABSENT BALLOT VERIFICATION OVERSEAS TROOPS CAN VERIFY BALLOTS COUNT
The Macomb County Clerk / Register of Deeds today launched Michigan’s first online absent ballot verification system, which she hopes will encourage voters to cast an absentee ballot. Voters may track their own absent voter application and ballot, and confirm local clerks process them.
"Until Michigan citizens get no-reason absentee voting, this system will let those who are permitted to vote absentee know their votes will be counted," said The Macomb County Clerk. "I encourage everyone who is eligible to cast an absentee ballot."
"It is important that everyone be treated fairly and have an equal opportunity to cast an absent ballot. This system also ensures the integrity of the voting process and is a new tool in keeping with the Voting Rights Act," said Ruthie Stevenson, Macomb County NAACP President. "This is a way to use technology to encourage voting and that benefits everyone."
"Macomb County Elections has put together a great service - especially since most people aren't thinking about what voting is like for our troops. Imagine trying to navigate your local election requirements from the other side of the world. When the mail takes two weeks to get to or from your post, you need to make sure you head off any problem quickly. Being able to keep an eye on your AV ballot over the internet helps guarantee overseas voters will be counted," said Vince Keenan, Director of Publius.org, a non-partisan voter information website that has been innovating online voter education in Michigan since 1996. Publius created the first statewide web site in the country that allowed voters to confirm their voter registration status online and view their sample ballots. Ironically, while the Macomb County Clerk is pioneering new online services, the Michigan Secretary of State chose to discontinue the successful relationship with publius.org's online voter education programs. Publius.org is a non-partisan 501(c)(3) voter education organization. Publius does not endorse candidates for public office. Publius encourages voters to independently research election issues and candidates and make informed decisions.
Visitors to The Macomb County Clerk’s web site http://macombgov.org/Clerk-Home may click the, "Track My Absentee Ballot" link and be prompted for last name, zip code, street number, and birth date. The system shows the date the local clerk received the voter’s absent voter application, mailed the ballot, and received their marked ballot.
A person may get an absent voter application form on The Macomb County Clerk’s web site and may request a ballot if one of the six statutory reasons apply.
"My hope is for absent ballot tracking to be done statewide," said the Macomb County Clerk.
This system has no additional cost to taxpayers. It uses existing technology to link the county’s web server to the state’s public Qualified Voter File. The Macomb County clerk’s office has read-only access to the QVF, meaning it can read data but cannot change it.
In 2004, Macomb County had 96,095 absent voters, while there were 60,298 in 2002. Absent voters are expected to be a significant percentage of the vote in this November’s general election.
This is not the first voting improvement by the Macomb County Clerk. She recently got 17-9 bipartisan support from the Macomb County Board of Commissioners to give senior citizens an equal opportunity to get an absent voter application form. Until now, local clerks in 11 communities automatically mailed absent voter application forms to all seniors, while local clerks in the county’s other 13 communities did not. The Macomb County Clerk got approval to mail absent voter application forms to the 49,234 county seniors who would have been excluded.
"Over 49,000 seniors would have been excluded if the Board of Commissioners had not approved my plan," said the Macomb County Clerk. "Now that all county seniors are being treated equally, it is appropriate we use technology to let people know their absentee ballots are counted."
Using technology to improve service is nothing new for the Macomb County Clerk. She was the first clerk to post online the names of campaigns that violate campaign finance rules and create a system to let candidates pay fines online. She also posts county and local campaign finance statements online placing Macomb County among the top counties regarding public disclosure and accountability.
As Macomb County Clerk / Register of Deeds, she has also done the following:
- Offers evening hours.
- Overnight delivery service for vital records.
- Free bus trips to help jurors do their civic duty.
- Let concealed weapons permit applicants check their permit status online.
- Toll-free, 24-hour fax-on-demand system providing forms and information.
- Wireless Internet access in the jury room.
- Business registration index and death record index on the Internet.
- Start a Personal Protection Order Assistance Center to help victims of abuse.
- Free library book delivery for those on jury duty.
- Computerized scanning for a register of deeds.
- Mobile branch office.
- Competitive bids for election supplies saving hundreds of thousands of dollars
Out of State: 310-575-5035
Register of Deeds
32 Market Street
Mount Clemens, MI 48043