Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson on Absentee Voting Amidst a Pandemic

Local elections took place across Michigan yesterday with voters casting their ballots almost entirely by mail.

Communities across Michigan voted in several local elections yesterday, the state’s first test of the democratic process since the spread of COVID-19.

“Now we have a blueprint for operating elections during a pandemic.” — Jocelyn Benson MI Secretary of State

An expansion to the vote by mail system allowed the majority of citizens to vote absentee. What do yesterday’s elections tell us about the future of vote-by-mail in Michigan? 

Listen: Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson on the expansion to vote by mail. 


Michigan Department of State
Michigan Department of State

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson says about 98 percent of votes cast yesterday were done so by mail and voter turnout was double that of typical local May elections. “It was a very inspiring day and things went better than expected,” says Benson. She says the success of the elections was a result of weeks of preparation and an expansion to vote-by-mail procedures. Benson says that this round of elections showed that when citizens know they have a right to vote from home they will take advantage of it. “Now we have a blueprint for operating elections during a pandemic,” says Benson.

Looking forward to larger upcoming elections, Benson hopes further legislation is passed to protect citizens’ right to vote by mail. She says she plans to institute measures like ballot tracking to bolster voter confidence and other user-friendly procedures to increase absentee access. 

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