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Administering Elections Has Become Unnecessarily Politicized, Benson Says

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Russ McNamara/WDET
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Municipal elections are taking place across Michigan today. Last year, a contentious presidential election led to many supporters of former President Donald Trump refusing to accept those results. 

As Michigan residents head to the polls Tuesday to vote in municipal elections across the state, turnout is expected to be down from last year’s contentious presidential election. But the hangover from 2020 continues.

“Despite the enormous scrutiny that has been placed on the process, we have found no widespread fraud. We have found only secure, accurate election results.” —Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson

Speaking after dropping off her ballot at a polling place in Northwest Detroit, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson says election fraud isn’t a significant threat but attempts to subvert democracy are. 

“And we’re also battling real efforts to restrict these options for voters in the name of countering voter fraud, which we know is infinitesimal,” she says. “Despite the enormous scrutiny that has been placed on the process, we have found no widespread fraud. We have found only secure, accurate election results.”  

Benson, who was the subject of threats after the 2020 presidential election, says administering elections has become unnecessarily politicized. 

“I’ve seen the threats to our election workers all across the state real threats to their livelihood to their jobs their professionalism,” she says.

Polls close at 8 p.m., but people can register and vote at their local clerk’s office right up until then. 

GOP-led Voting Proposals Are Unnecessary and Unpopular, Benson Says

There was no evidence of systemic fraud — despite record turnout — and millions of people voting absentee in last year’s presidential election.  

Republican lawmakers have passed bills that would add identification rules and make it more difficult to vote absentee. So far, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has vetoed the legislation.  

Now, a GOP-backed petition campaign called “Secure MI Vote” would allow legislative Republicans to adopt the same bills but bypass the governor’s veto.  

Benson says the proposed changes are unnecessary and unpopular. 

“I think that illustrates how some of those changes are not popular and they’re truly not a reaction to any type of fraud or wrongdoing in the system they’re actually reaction to the enormous turnout we saw in 2020,” she says.  

Proposal 3, which expanded voting access by adding no-reason absentee voting, passed by a 67% to 33% margin in 2018.