SOS Benson unveils new plan aimed to strengthen infrastructure, security of elections

Posted at 2:09 PM, Feb 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-01 14:09:38-05

(WXYZ) — Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson released a new plan for elections that aims to "further strengthen infrastructure and security."

“Michigan voters want elections to be accessible, strong and secure," Benson said in a press release. "We saw this in 2018 when voters enshrined expanded voting rights in our state constitution, and again in 2020 when record numbers of voters exercised their new rights,” said Benson. “Our job now is clear: to defend and protect democracy by ensuring that no matter how one votes, who they vote for, where they live, or what they look like, their vote will be counted.”

The plan, titled "Advancing the Vote, Protecting Democracy," outlines several initiatives designed to ensure equitable access for voters while also strengthening the infrastructure of elections.

The following is included in the plan:

  • Require absentee ballot applications be mailed to registered voters every federal election cycle;
  • Mandate ballots postmarked by Election Day and received shortly after are counted;
  • Establish early in-person voting;
  • Make Election Day a state holiday to facilitate voting and make it easier for citizens to serve as election workers;
  • Allow overseas service members and spouses to return their ballots electronically;
  • Require translated election materials where a significant non-English-speaking community lives;
  • Provide funds to ensure voting locations are ADA-compliant and establish curbside voting;
  • Allow processing of absentee ballots two weeks prior to Election Day;
  • Prohibit deceptive election practices that deter or mislead voters;
  • Prohibit open carry of firearms within 100 feet of a voting location;
  • Mandate training standards for election challengers and election workers; and,
  • Require a statewide risk-limiting audit of election results prior to state certification.

The Benson Administration is working with members of the state Legislature to draft and introduce bills that embody the plan.