Benson joined by state and local leaders denouncing voter suppression bill package

Election NewsAPRIL 21, 2021

Analysis of bills finds they harm election administration and voting rights. 

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson was joined at a press conference today by organizational leaders and elected officials from across the state to denounce Michigan Senate Republicans' 39-bill voter suppression package.

"The bills that make up the majority of this legislative package do nothing to advance the integrity of our democracy, they simply undo many of the policies that made last year's election the most accessible and secure in our state's history," said Secretary Benson. "Instead of working across the aisle to listen to clerks, the state Bureau of Elections, or voters, those behind these bills choose to ignore the data, truth and best practices and promote policies that will silence the voices of all voters. Their actions are an embarrassment and an affront to every citizen they are sworn to serve."

Benson was joined by Ingham County Clerk Barb Byrum, State Senator Paul Wojno, the Democratic vice chair of the Michigan Senate Elections Committee, the Reverend Dr. Steve Bland Jr., President of the Council of Baptist Pastors, and Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan. The speakers addressed specifics of the bill package and the obstacles it would create to voting access for Michigan citizens.

Ingham County Clerk Barb Byrum: "The bills in this package show no trace of the expertise, insight and data that have been shared with legislators in good faith by election administrators on both sides of the aisle. Sensible improvements to our election processes are needed, but those reforms should make our elections more inclusive, more efficient and more secure. Instead, these bills amount to a willful malicious attempt to strip voting rights away from Michigan's citizens."

State Senator Paul Wojno: "These proposed bills on election reform are scattershot solutions to imaginary problems, and they would construct deliberate barriers to voting for many, including our seniors. We should make voting easier, not harder, and I remain committed to working with Secretary Benson and my legislative colleagues on both sides of the aisle to ensure the voices of hardworking residents of all ages can cast their ballots when, where, and however it best suits them." 

Rev. Dr. Steve Bland: "After historic voter turnout last year, it is shocking and disgraceful that some of our state's elected officials, who are here to serve the people, would attempt to pass legislation that disenfranchises them. While millions of Michigan voters have made their voices clear, these bills seek to silence them. The people of this state deserve better, and we will continue to fight back against any attempt to make it more difficult or less safe to vote."

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan: "Despite what the sponsors of these bills claim, the true intent of these bills is clear: to make it harder for people in Detroit and other communities like it to vote. The arbitrary requirements and restrictions in these bills will do nothing to make elections more secure, they will disenfranchise voters and cost us all in the long run."

A full analysis of the bill package can be found here.

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