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Secretary Benson forms Election Security Commission to help protect every vote in Michigan

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson today announced an Election Security Commission to recommend reforms and strategies for ensuring the security of elections in Michigan.

The first-of-its-kind effort brings together 18 local and national experts on cybersecurity and elections to secure elections and protect the integrity of every vote. Together they will advise the secretary of state and Bureau of Elections on best practices. Benson, the state’s chief election officer, has statewide authority over election administration and security.

"The security of our elections is critical to the security of our democracy," Benson said. "I am grateful that many of our nation’s top election security experts have joined forces with our local election officials to develop a plan that will ensure Michigan’s elections are secured against all known and emerging threats."

The commission will convene in early April to begin its review and assessment of election security in Michigan. It later will host hearings throughout the state and invite citizen and expert input on election problems and security. The commission will deliver a set of recommended reforms and actions to the secretary of state by the end of 2019. Its work is funded through a federal grant for election security.

Benson has named David Becker, executive director of the nonprofit Center for Election Innovation & Research, and J. Alex Halderman, professor of computer science and engineering at the University of Michigan, as co-chairs of the commission. It will be staffed and facilitated by designated secretary of state employees.

Those named to the commission include:

  • Tripp Adams, Michigan chapter lead for the Truman National Security Project, an advocacy organization for national security solutions; and a lawyer.
  • Tina Barton, Rochester Hills city clerk, master municipal clerk, certified Michigan municipal clerk and host to Michigan’s first pilot risk-limiting audit.
  • David Becker (co-chair), 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.
  • Barb Byrum, Ingham County clerk, certified elections registration administrator, former member of the Election Center’s Security Task Force and former Michigan state representative.
  • Rich DeMillo, Charlotte B. and Roger C. Warren professor of computer science at Georgia Tech and former dean of the College of Computing and director of the Information Research Center, previous international election observer and board member for nonprofit election security organizations.
  • Chris DeRusha, chief security officer for the state of Michigan and formerly with Ford Motor Co. and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
  • Joshua M. Franklin, president and co-founder of OutStack Technologies and formerly led security aspects of the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s voting project.
  • Cathy M. Garrett, Wayne County clerk.
  • Alex Halderman (co-chair), professor of computer science and engineering at the University of Michigan and director of the university’s Center for Computer Security and Society.
  • Liz Howard, election security counsel with the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice and former deputy commissioner of the Virginia Department of Elections.
  • Rachel Huddleston, publications/communications associate for Michigan Protection & Advocacy Service Inc. in Lansing.
  • Matthew V. Masterson (non-voting liaison), senior cybersecurity advisor, Office of Cybersecurity and Communications, U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
  • Walter R. Mebane Jr., professor of political science and statistics at the University of Michigan.
  • Jennifer Morrell, former election official in Utah and Colorado, nationally recognized expert in election audits and consultant with Democracy Fund on Election Validation Project.
  • Tim Snow, Kalamazoo county clerk and register of deeds and former president of Michigan Association of County Clerks.
  • Maurice Turner, senior technologist at the Center for Democracy & Technology with special focus on the Election Security and Privacy Project.
  • Dan Wallach, professor of computer science and Rice Scholar at the Baker Institute for Public Policy at Rice University, former director of the National Science Foundation’s ACCURATE (A Center for Correct, Usable, Reliable, Auditable, and Transparent Elections) program.
  • Wayne Williams, former Colorado secretary of state and former El Paso county clerk and recorder.

Benson has made it a top priority to work collaboratively with local election officials and election experts to boost voter confidence, increase turnout, improve efficiencies and secure the integrity of elections.


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Media Contact: Shawn Starkey -