Heard on Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson

Mackinac Policy Conference 2021: Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson Talks Challenges Heading Into November Elections

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Image credit: Lisa Brancato/WDET

Benson says she and other election officials are already preparing for potential threats and misinformation ahead of November.

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Various initiatives and candidates will be arriving on ballots in November elections. This year, in light of the recent ballot-counting protests from right-wing activists as well as the pandemic, election officials are anticipating some challenges.

Listen: Michigan’s Secretary of State on November election and redistricting map.


Jocelyn Benson, Michigan’s Secretary of State, says election officials need to prepare for ongoing threats made against them from those absorbing false information. She notes that the abuse lobbed at election officials, including Detroit City Clerk Janice Winfrey, is disheartening. “These threats have become an unfortunate reality for a lot of us,” she says.

Benson says officials also need to inform voters that voting procedures have not changed, as citizens still have the ability to vote absentee, vote in-person or return their ballot at a drop box. “Democracy is a train that is going to keep running,” she says.

On frustrations with the preliminary congressional maps that have been produced by Michigan’s independent commission, Benson says those disturbances are due to the commission stripping power that was previously bestowed to representatives and because the commission received data to produce the new map only one month prior to beginning the process of drawing the new maps. “There’s going to be a lot of people upset with the maps,” she says, as people on both sides of the political aisle are helping to draw them.

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