Winfrey, Benson announce partnership to support Detroit elections

Election NewsSEPTEMBER 2, 2020

Detroit City Clerk Janice Winfrey and Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson announced today a partnership to ensure the integrity and accessibility of the November 3 general election in Detroit. The partnership, supported by Wayne County Executive Warren Evans, Wayne County Clerk Cathy Garrett and Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan will involve collaborative efforts to recruit and train additional staff and election workers, open 14 new satellite clerk offices throughout the city, and provide additional support to ensure the integrity of the city’s absentee ballot tabulation.

Detroit will also become the first city in the nation with all four of its top professional sports teams – the Detroit Red Wings, Tigers, Pistons and Lions – engaged with the city to promote voter education, provide staff election day off to serve as election workers, and use their arenas an sports facilities to support election administration.

“Partnerships are critical to running smooth, secure elections and the additional staff, resources and support from the city, county and state will further strengthen our election system as we navigate this unprecedented time,” said Winfrey. “Detroit voters should feel completely confident that their voices will be heard when they cast their ballots ahead of and on November 3rd.”

“Democracy is a team sport and as a longtime resident of the city of Detroit I am proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with Clerk Winfrey to ensure she has all the support she needs as her team prepares for the culmination of one of the most challenging election cycles in modern history,” said Benson. “We are all in this together and will work collaboratively with her office, the City of Detroit, and Wayne County to ensure every vote is counted and our elections are secure.”

With the resources provided through these partnerships Winfrey’s administration will add capacity and improve Detroit’s election system, including:

  • Opening 14 additional satellite clerk offices – for a total of 21 across the city – where voters can register and request and return absentee ballots starting October 5. The offices will be open six days a week, staffed by City of Detroit employees and operating in recreation centers and other facilities.
     
  • Installing more than 30 secure ballot drop boxes across the city that will be continuously monitored and secure.
     
  • Recruiting and training at least 6,000 election workers to ensure every one of the city’s 182 polling locations and 134 absentee counting board is fully staffed.
     
  • Little Caesars Arena will provide space for physically distant in person training for new election workers to ensure election workers and staff are fully prepared to execute their duties on Election Day.
     
  • Hiring additional staff to support the City clerk’s office, including Christopher Thomas, former Michigan Bureau of Elections Director, who will serve as a senior advisor.
     
  • Revising protocols for ballot counting and sorting to make more effective use of high-speed scanners (tabulators) and reduce the potential for error.

“The City of Detroit is committed to ensuring our elections are safe, secure, and accessible to all,” said Duggan.  “That is why I am making numerous City staff available to support Clerk Winfrey and her administration as they prepare for the election and many more available to serve as election workers on Election Day.”

“I am proud to work with my colleagues to ensure the voting rights of all Detroit residents,” said Wayne County Executive Warren Evans. “Especially this year it is important that we all work together to inform citizens how they can cast their ballot safely and securely.”

“This partnership is a commendable start. The Wayne County Clerk’s Elections Division shall remain committed to continue to do our part to work with all local clerks. I strongly encourage Wayne County citizens to be the change that you want to see. Sign up, get trained, and get engaged in the process,” said Wayne County Clerk Cathy M. Garrett.

The partnership is also supported by many of Detroit’s civic leaders. “The November election looms large before each of us. Our very survival as a democracy is on the ballot. We are in the political war of our lives,” said Reverend Dr. Wendell Anthony, Detroit NAACP Chapter President and Fellowship Chapel Pastor. “Each of us regardless of where we have stood in the past must stand together for the future. Election participation and protection is paramount for those who believe in freedom. The NAACP will not only stand with but work with all of those who are determined to make certain that each and every vote is counted and accredited.”

 

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