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Michigan SOS Jocelyn Benson testifies before Congress on election security

jocelyn benson at podium

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson testified remotely Friday before a congressional committee. The topic was ensuring the November elections are handled safely and securely.

Benson joined other state elections officials before the House Homeland Security Committee. She said Michigan’s August primary served as a useful trial run. But many more people are expected to vote in November. And Benson said many more people will either mail in or drop off their ballots because of COVID-19 concerns. That, she said, presents a challenge.

“But meet the challenge ahead of us we must,” she said, “and there are solutions to ensure that we can.”

Benson said that includes ensuring the Post Office can collect and deliver ballots in time. She also suggested wide use of secure ballot drop boxes as part of plans to ensure who’s allowed to vote gets to, and that people will trust the results.

Benson also said there are efforts afoot to sow distrust in the security of elections.

“The coronavirus pandemic, plus what seems to be near-constant and escalating rhetoric and misinformation about our elections has brought historic pressures on our ability in the states to meet this goal.”

Benson said one example of an effort to suppress the vote includes a robo-call to Detroit voters that was reported to her office this week. The call claimed mail-in voting puts personal information at risk. That is not true.

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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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