Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson is Michigan’s Chief Elections Officer. She is making it clear that she believes her job is to defend and protect democracy.  To that end, she is taking the wraps off a long list of proposals to change the state’s election process and the atmosphere surrounding them. The Secretary says, “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.” Secretary Benson calls her plan, “Advancing the Vote, Protecting Democracy”.

But not everyone agrees with her ideas. Republican 42nd District State Representative
Ann Bollin says, ““Our focus must be on improving transparency, protecting election integrity and restoring the public’s trust – not on constitutionally questionable proposals that advance the Secretary of State’s own political agenda.”

Maybe the most questionable of the Secretary of State’s proposals is the idea to
require absentee ballot applications to be mailed to registered voters every federal election cycle. Benson also wants the state to accept and count absentee or mail-in ballots that are postmarked by Election Day but arrive after election day. Those are two ideas that many critics say allow foul play.

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Marshall Republican Representative Matt Hall says the focus should be on securing the voting process, not opening it up wide. He’s proposing things like reforming the Qualified Voter File system to prevent third party groups from having access, removing people who have died from the state voting records system, and use a localized absentee ballot process rather than rely on one massive state-run system.

Some additional ideas put forward by Secretary Benson include:
-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
-Allow processing of absentee ballots two weeks prior to Election Day
-Prohibit open carry of firearms within 100 feet of a voting location.

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