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SOS Jocelyn Benson supports online voter registration, favors paper ballots

Emma Winowiecki
Michigan Radio

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson says it’s possible to make elections more open and more efficient, and still ensure voting is secure and accurate.

Benson says she favors paper ballots over electronic systems like the phone app that created chaos in the Iowa caucuses.

“Ultimately, the work of an election administrator is to marry those security requirements that paper ballots really solidify with technological advancements, and that’s why we implemented online voter registration but with paper ballots for the voting process,” she says.

Michigan now allows no-reason absentee voting. That means some ballots for the March presidential primary have already been dropped off or mailed in.

Benson says she wants local elections officials to be able to process absentee ballots in advance, but still wait until election night to actually count them.

She says that will make a difference as more voters use Michigan’s no-reason absentee ballots to vote early.

There will also be an August primary to select candidates for the U.S. Senate, U.S. House, and the state Legislature.

That will be followed by the general election in November.

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Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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