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Grand Rapids business, elected officials create ballot tracking system

TrackMIBallot will track ballots as they are sent out to voters and also as they are sent back to the election office.
Credit: Kent Communications, Inc., TrackMIBallot

In Michigan, a system has been created to track each piece of ballot mail as it travels through the postal system in an effort develop a layer of accountability and transparency to the vote-by-mail process.

Grand Rapids-based mail service provider Kent Communications, Inc. (KCI) announced Tuesday that it has worked with local election officials to create a product called TrackMIBallot. The product used a service from the United States Postal Service, called Informed Visibility, to track each piece of ballot mail as it goes through the postal system.

TrackMIBallot will track ballots as they are sent out to voters and also as they are sent back to the election office.

“TrackMIBallot is designed to help Michigan’s Clerks run the safest, most transparent absent voter election in history,” said TrackMIBallot founder and KCI President Brian Quist. “TrackMIBallot allows election officials to track every piece of mail from the voter and back again with a real-time UPS/FedEx-style tracking system.”

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So far, the City of Walker, the City of Lansing, Grand Rapids Township and Cannon Township have signed on to use TrackMIBallot for the upcoming election. The City of Walker was one of the very first Municipalities to sign on.

“As City Clerk for the City of Walker in Kent County Michigan, I strive to be on the forefront of technology, and I am excited to assist KCI in rolling out TrackMIBallot. This tool will be a great benefit to voters by giving them the opportunity to track their ballot to its destination,” said City of Walker clerk Sarah Bydalek.

Through this new service, voting officials can see when ballots are being delivered to voters and will be able to look up inquiries when a voter is wondering about the location of his or her ballot.

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The system will also allow voters to obtain their own secure web link where they can track their ballot. This can also be done once the ballot is sent back to the election office, so voters know their ballot is being delivered.

“Already this year, Michigan Clerks have issued more than three times the number of absentee ballots for the primary election than they did at this same time four years ago,” Quist said.

“Without a concrete tracking system, this volume of mail-in votes will be incredibly difficult to manage. We believe TrackMIBallot is a safe, affordable option for election officials to use to ensure they are offering the most transparent absent voter election possible.”

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