FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact:

December 14, 2004 Carmella Sabaugh 586-469-7939

Walt Blessed 586-446-2421

Michael Koehs 586-992-0710

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, Macomb County Clerk / Register of Deeds Carmella Sabaugh 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 Sabaugh. "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, Sabaugh 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 Sabaugh cited for selecting the Accuvote system are:

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 Sabaugh. "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."

Sabaugh made other recent reforms in the elections process including:

1-888-99-CLERK, document #6710.

EDITOR’S NOTE: A photo of Sabaugh 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, Sabaugh and a tabulator are available in the county clerk’s office.