City officials praise Ryska for clerk work

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published November 18, 2020


STERLING HEIGHTS — Sterling Heights City Clerk Melanie Ryska might not have been on the ballot Nov. 3, but the City Council declared her a winner the day after Election Day for all of her hard work managing things.

During the Nov. 4 Sterling Heights City Council meeting, City Manager Mark Vanderpool praised Ryska and her team of over 400 election workers for how they handled the 2020 elections. He said more than 70,000 residents voted in the Nov. 3 election.

“Sterling Heights was one of the first large cities to report results this morning at approximately 6:30 a.m., just over 10 1/2 hours after the polls closed,” Vanderpool said. “The team worked around the clock to ensure tabulations were not only accurate but timely. The attention to detail and methodical review of all processes is incredibly impressive.”  

In response, Ryska said her job can sometimes be very difficult, adding that this year was like a non-stop whirlwind. But she said she loves what she does, and she praised her team.

She said the city now has 99,258 registered voters, and it sent out 42,276 absentee ballots and got back 40,667. In comparison, over 15,000 absentee ballots were sent out in 2016, she said.

Afterward, City Council members praised Ryska for her hard work, outlining the security procedures to ensure that the election was fair, such as having Democratic and Republican election inspectors there.

“You’re a great leader, and you inspire others to do well because you do it flawlessly,” Councilwoman Maria Schmidt said.

Councilman Michael Radtke noted how the lines to vote on Election Day were long, and he said Ryska did as much as she could with her resources. He said he thinks that the new normal will be more absentee voting, though he also praised the voters who stood in line and waited their turn to vote on Election Day.

“I saw people who stood in line for three hours, and they were like, ‘I want to vote,’” Radtke said. “That makes me feel so heartened about our democracy … but we, hopefully, in the future won’t have those lines, and have people a little bit warmer.”

Councilwoman Deanna Koski called Ryska “truly a wonder woman.” And Mayor Mchael Taylor called it amazing that Sterling Heights — which he predicted is now the third most-populous city in the state — had counted everything by 6:30 a.m. Nov. 4.

“We learned a lot, I think, and I think the whole city is going to be better prepared knowing how to handle absentee,” he added.

According to results posted on Macomb County’s website, Sterling Heights voters in the presidential election gave Republican Donald Trump 38,452 votes, or 54.8%; Democrat Joe Biden 30,591 votes, or 43.6%; and Libertarian Jo Jorgensen 524 votes, or 0.7%.

Find out more about Sterling Heights by visiting or by calling (586) 446-2489. For more election results, visit the Macomb County elections page at