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Politics & Government

Secretary of State candidates lay out election security, customer service plans

jocelyn benson and mary treder lang
Benson for Secretary of State / Mary Treder Lang for Secretary of State
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Democrat Jocelyn Benson (left) and Republican Mary Treder Lang (right) are running to become Michigan's next Secretary of State.

In the state of Michigan, the Secretary of State oversees public notaries, vehicle registration and automotive licensing, and, perhaps most importantly, serves as the state’s chief elections officer. 

This November, Michiganders will vote to replace incumbent Ruth Johnson (R), who cannot run again due to term limits. Election security and how to best preserve the integrity of Michigan votes are key issues in this race. 

Mary Treder Lang is running for Secretary of State as a Republican. She is the Vice President of Major Gifts for Vista Maria. Jocelyn Benson is the Democratic candidate running for Secretary of State, and is currently the CEO of the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality (RISE) and the former Dean of Wayne State University Law School in Detroit. 

Treder Lang says that she’s confident in Michigan’s recently-revamped voting equipment, but she believes in the importance of securing that equipment from potential hackers. In order to preserve the integrity of Michigan votes, she believes that voting equipment should not be connected to the internet and that paper ballots should be used as supportive documentation. If elected to office, Treder Lang also plans to work on recruiting and certifying poll workers so voting precincts don't go understaffed.  

“I have a plan which is ‘One Citizen, One Vote.’ I’ve learned a great deal in the last 13 months obtaining the support of the clerks and speaking to many clerks throughout the state, and knowing that we need to increase state-of-the-art election training not only for the clerks, but also for the poll workers,” Treder Lang said.

Benson says that if elected, she also intends to uphold and strengthen election security in Michigan. Her plan includes instituting risk-limiting post-election audits, improving poll worker training, and stiffening penalties for those who try to hack into our election system.

“I also want to create an election security commission that will continually advise myself and our office on any type of threats to the security of our elections so that we can stay ahead of them and implement data-driven, solution-oriented plans to address them — to protect our elections — all while, at the same time, on the same parallel track, increasing access to the vote through things like no-reason absentee, early voting, and other policies that data has shown will increase turnout across the entire state,” said Benson. 

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