FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
October 20, 2004
MACOMB COUNTY CLERK APPLAUDS COURT RULING TO COUNT PROVISIONAL BALLOTS
The Macomb County Clerk / Register of Deeds applauded yesterday’s federal court ruling that the state must count votes if a citizen votes in the proper community but incorrect polling place.
“This ruling is a victory for the right to vote, but people should know that you should still vote at your regular polling place,” said The Macomb County Clerk. “Macomb County citizens want all votes to be counted and this recent court ruling helps make sure all votes will be counted.”
“We already have a process for counting provisional ballots and we will not have a problem incorporating this ruling into the process,” said Dennis Tomlinson, Clinton Township Clerk. “All votes in Macomb County’s and the State of Michigan’s largest township will be properly counted. As clerk, I have utilized every available means to inform voters of their proper precinct, including cable TV and the Internet. Residents may also call our Elections Division to find out where to vote.”
U.S. District Judge David Lawson ruled provisional ballots must be counted if a citizen votes in the correct city but wrong precinct. Provisional, or backup, ballots are used when voters say they are properly registered but their names are not on the registration rolls. Such ballots are handled separately so that challenges or verification can be done. The ruling only affects votes for federal offices and not those for ballot initiatives, state lawmakers and other elected officials. The law gives local clerks up to six days after the election to count provisional ballots.
The Macomb County Clerk and Tomlinson said that if a voter shows up at the wrong precinct, he or she will be given the location of the proper precinct and encouraged to vote in the proper precinct. If the voter desires to cast a provisional ballot, or there is no time to get to the correct poll before it closes, then the voter will be permitted to cast a provisional ballot and the votes for federal offices will be counted.
“I commend Clerk Dennis Tomlinson for giving assurance to voters that provisional ballots will be properly counted,” said the Macomb County Clerk. “His example will hopefully be helpful to clerks in communities with fewer precincts and smaller boundaries.”
The General Election is on Tuesday, November 2, 2004. Polls are open from 7am – 8pm. From the “Voter Information Center” link on the Macomb County Clerk’s web site http://www.macombcountymi.gov/clerksoffice.