Mackinac Policy Conference: Jocelyn Benson on keeping elections safe

The Secretary of State welcomes election workers from all parties, but is concerned some may seek to interfere with the election process instead of performing their role.

It was chaos at Detroit’s Huntington Place, as poll workers counted votes for the 2020 presidential election. They were met by “poll challengers” — people appointed by political parties to contest the results of the vote count.

Republicans have increased poll challenger recruitment for the upcoming 2022 election. Recent leaked video recordings show Republican Party operatives discussing a plan to place party-trained volunteers, who will challenge voters, at majority Democratic polling locations.

Election workers (also known as “poll workers“) assist voters and count ballots on election day. More than 800 Republicans have applied to be poll workers in Detroit for the upcoming November election. The city has never had this many Republican applicants according to the City Clerk.

“A lot of the work moving forward to protect the integrity of elections will be about making sure good people from both sides of the aisle … are involved in our democracy protecting the guard rails.”— Jocelyn Benson, Michigan Secretary of State.


Listen: Michigan Secretary of State on election security and the difference between poll watchers and poll workers.

 


Guest

Jocelyn Benson has been Michigan’s Secretary of State since 2018. In that time, she has dealt with many claims of voter fraud, including machine tampering.

“A lot of the work moving forward to protect the integrity of elections will be about making sure good people from both sides of the aisle, who are committed to the law, committed to the rule of law and integrity, are involved in our democracy protecting the guard rails,” Benson says.

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