Pitney Bowes Introduces Relia-Vote(TM) Mail Balloting System
Automated System Helps Ensure Accuracy of Vote by Mail Process; Provides Audit Trail and Proof of Balloting
STAMFORD, Conn., June 29 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Pitney Bowes Inc. (NYSE: PBI) has introduced an automated, fully integrated suite of products that help ensure the accuracy and integrity of the mail balloting process: the Pitney Bowes Relia-Vote(TM) Mail Balloting System.
"Voting by mail has become increasingly popular, and experts predict that about 30 percent of the 2004 presidential votes will be cast by mail," said Michael J. Critelli, Pitney Bowes chairman and CEO. "The use of an automated, integrated mail balloting system provides accuracy, integrity and audit- ability to the mail balloting process at a time of increased focus and scrutiny on elections."
Critelli pointed out that the Pitney Bowes Relia-Vote(TM) Mail Balloting System helps ensure that the right ballot gets to the right voter on time, and supports safeguards to the vote-by-mail process to verify that the person returning the ballot is actually the registered voter who requested it. He also mentioned that, "the Relia-Vote system significantly reduces the costs and labor typically associated with manual mail balloting processes."
"Our 80-plus years of expertise in mail and mail processing technology enables us to deliver this solution. We've put together multiple technologies and competencies to make this system work for almost any size municipality responsible for administering elections," Critelli added.
Benefits of the Relia-Vote(TM) Mail Balloting system include: * Helps ensure that each voter requesting an absentee ballot is sent one within the required time frames * Confirms that each voter's absentee package is complete, and includes the appropriate ballot for the voter * Expedites the signature verification process, a critical safeguard to protect against voter fraud * Provides a verifiable and easily accessible audit trail for all vote- by-mail related documents and activities in the event of an inquiry or contested election * Reduces material, ballot, and postal costs through innovative software and postal optimization technology * Reduces labor costs to administer elections by automating the assembly, mailing and quality control steps necessary for mail balloting
Orange County, California is the first county to use the Relia-Vote(TM) Mail Balloting System in conjunction with Hart Intercivic and their Ballot Now technology.
"As the second largest county in California and the fifth largest in the country, we were looking for a scaleable solution to process the more than 300,000 absentee ballots we previously handled manually," explains Steven Rodermund, registrar of voters for Orange County. "For the first election, we manually pulled one out of every 250 ballots that went through the system to check that the right ballot was matched to the right person. The system provided 100 percent accuracy."
Voter Participation Higher With Mail Balloting
Research has shown that overall voter participation is higher in states that offer widespread, or "no excuse" absentee balloting when compared to states that restrict its usage. In California, for example, mail voting has increased 71 percent since the 2000 election, accounting for 33 percent of all ballots cast in the state. Moreover, approximately 70 percent of voters requesting to vote by mail actually participated and cast ballots, compared to 46 percent for the overall voting population.
Cathy Pearsall-Stipek, president of Votes Count Inc., a Tacoma, Washington-based advocacy group, explains that the benefits of vote by mail may be contributing to its growing popularity. "We live in a very busy society, and vote by mail gives people the opportunity to receive their ballot from ten to 14 days prior to an election, allowing them time to research the candidates and the issues before they vote. This likely improves the experience for voters, and potentially advances the overall quality of the electoral process."
Maintaining the Integrity of the Balloting Process
In addition to its positive impact on voter response, vote by mail provides a verifiable audit trail, "which is something that many lawmakers are advocating," states Pearsall-Stipek adding, "We can't afford to repeat the mistakes of the 2000 election. The use of Pitney Bowes' Relia-Vote(TM) system for mail balloting can be an important and effective voting tool by continuing to support the high integrity standards required of our democratic process."
Pitney Bowes Inc. is the world's leading provider of integrated mail and document management systems, services and solutions. The $4.6 billion company helps organizations of all sizes reduce costs, increase effectiveness and enhance customer relationships. The company's 80-plus years of technological leadership has produced many major innovations in the mailing industry and more than 3,500 active patents with applications in a variety of markets, including printing, shipping, encryption and financial services. With approximately 33,000 employees worldwide, Pitney Bowes serves more than 2 million businesses through direct and dealer operations. More information about Pitney Bowes can be found at http://www.pb.com.
CONTACT: Marianne Fulgenzi Director, External Affairs Pitney Bowes Inc. 203-351-6974 SOURCE Pitney Bowes Inc. -0- 06/29/2004 /CONTACT: Marianne Fulgenzi, Director, External Affairs of Pitney Bowes Inc., +1-203-351-6974/ /Web site: http://www.pb.com / (PBI) CO: Pitney Bowes Inc. ST: Connecticut IN: CPR STW ITE MLM SU: PDT AL -- NYTU013 -- 9997 06/29/2004 09:01 EDT http://www.prnewswire.com