Secretary Benson convenes Election Modernization Advisory Committee to advance election reforms

Election NewsFEBRUARY 20, 2019 (Updated March 1, 2019)

Consortium of local election officials, voting rights advocates, experts
to provide counsel on Proposal 3 voter reforms

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson announced today an Election Modernization Advisory Committee to advise her administration and the Department of State’s Bureau of Elections on the implementation of Proposal 3 and further election reforms.

Members of the committee include county, city and township clerks from across the state, Michigan-based voting rights advocates, and local and national election experts.

“The results of last November’s election are clear: Michigan voters want to make it easier to vote and harder to cheat,” Benson said. “I am grateful to the local and national experts who have agreed to come together to ensure we do just that, modernizing our elections, applying best practices and making Michigan a national model for clean, efficient and secure elections.”

Passed overwhelmingly by voters in November, Proposal 3 involves significant changes to Michigan’s election laws, including the institution of absentee voting for any reason, automatic voter registration and the ability to register up to and on Election Day.

The advisory committee will provide input, suggestions and feedback on the execution of these reforms. Other topics slated for consultation by the committee include the launch of online voter registration passed by the Legislature last year along with poll worker recruitment training, as well as solutions to current challenges involving elections.

Benson has named former Michigan Director of Elections Christopher Thomas to lead the newly formed advisory committee. The committee will be staffed and facilitated by the Michigan Bureau of Elections and other staff from the Secretary of State’s office.

Those named to the advisory committee include:

  • Tripp Adams, Michigan chapter lead for the Truman National Security Project, an advocacy organization for national security solutions; chief operating officer of Rochester Hills-based Emagine Entertainment; and a lawyer.
     
  • Jackie Beaudry, Ann Arbor city clerk, who represented the United States on multiple international election observation missions in Central Asia and Eastern Europe.
     
  • David Becker, executive director and founder of the nonprofit Center for Election Innovation & Research in Washington, D.C.; former director of the elections program at The Pew Charitable Trusts and former senior trial attorney in the Voting Section of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division.
     
  • Nick Ciaramitaro, former director of legislation and public policy for Michigan AFSCME Council 25, former state representative and former Roseville city clerk.
     
  • Mary R. Clark, Delta Township clerk, certified master municipal clerk, and member of Michigan Association of Municipal Clerks Board of Directors (education chair) and Capitol Area Municipal Clerks Association (past president).
     
  • Sharon Dolente, voting rights strategist with the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan and an attorney.
     
  • Martha Gonzalez-Cortes, vice president of community investment at the Kalamazoo Community Foundation, former community relations director for the Michigan Department of Civil Rights and former state director of the Office of Migrant Affairs.
     
  • Trey Grayson, member of the Presidential Commission on Election Administration and boards of directors for Democracy Works and the Center for Election Innovation and Research,  former Kentucky secretary of state and former president of the National Association of Secretaries of State.
     
  • Rachel Huddleston, publications/communications associate for Michigan Protection & Advocacy Service Inc. in Lansing.
     
  • Elizabeth Hundley, attorney and Livingston County clerk and member of Michigan Association of County Clerks Election Officials Committee and Legislative Committee (co-chair).
     
  • Mary Kotowski, St. Clair Shores city clerk, former election director for Macomb County and former deputy clerk for Troy, Warren and Chesterfield Township.
     
  • Benjamin Marentette, Traverse City clerk and recent graduate of the Senior Executives in State and Local Government program at the Harvard Kennedy School.
     
  • Amber McReynolds, executive director of the Washington, D.C.-based National Vote at Home Institute and former director of elections for the city and county of Denver.
     
  • Tammy Patrick, senior advisor to the elections program at the Democracy Fund in Washington, D.C., and a former member of the Presidential Commission on Election Administration.
     
  • Whitney Quesenbery, co-director of the Center for Civic Design in Cambridge, Maryland, and a former member of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission’s advisory committee for voting system standards.
     
  • Justin Roebuck, Ottawa County clerk and register of deeds.
     
  • Joe Rozell, Oakland County director of elections and certified elections registration administrator.
     
  • Matt Singer, partner at Washington, D.C.-based Impactual, implementation lead for the Center for Secure and Modern Elections, and founder of National Voter Registration Day.
     
  • Khalilah Spencer, equity and social responsibility partner at Honigman LLC in Detroit, legal redress chair of the Michigan State NAACP and former vice chair of Promote the Vote.
     
  • Julia Stonestreet, Spring Arbor Township clerk and chair of the Jackson County Clerks Association.
     
  • Chris Swope, Lansing city clerk, president of the Capitol Area Municipal Clerks Association and past president of the Michigan Association of Municipal Clerks.
     
  • Natalie Tennant, manager of state advocacy on the Brennan Center for Justice’s Voting Rights and Elections project in Washington, D.C., and former West Virginia secretary of state.
     
  • Christopher Thomas (chair), retired Michigan director of elections, fellow at Bipartisan Policy Center, former two-time president of the National Association of State Election Directors, former chair of the board of advisors to the U.S. Election Assistance Commission and former member of the Presidential Commission on Election Administration.
     
  • Robin Troyer, Sault Ste Marie deputy city manager and city clerk, who is certified as a master municipal clerk and Michigan municipal clerk.
     
  • Nancy A. Waters, Muskegon County clerk and a former Muskegon County commissioner.
     
  • Matthew Weil, senior associate director of the Democracy Project at the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington, D.C., and formerly with the U.S. Election Assistance Commission and the AEI-Brookings Election Reform Project.
     
  • Janice Winfrey, Detroit city clerk and chairperson of the Detroit Election Commission.

As Michigan’s chief election officer, Benson has made it a top priority to work collaboratively with local election officials and election experts to boost voter confidence, increase turnout and improve efficiencies.

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