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Secretary Benson testifies in front of U.S. House Judiciary Committee on protecting voting rights during pandemic

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson testified before the Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties of the U.S. House Committee on the Judiciary this morning on protecting the right to vote during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As we collectively endure this moment of great uncertainty, caused by a global pandemic that has taken the lives of 100,000 Americans and many more worldwide, it is within both my authority and my responsibility as Michigan’s chief election officer to ensure every voter knows that they do not need to risk their health to cast a ballot,” said Secretary Benson.

During her testimony, the Secretary spoke of the voter-approved constitutional amendment passed in November 2018 granting every voter in Michigan the right to vote by mail, and her administration’s efforts to ensure Michiganders understood those rights and trusted the institutions safeguarding them.

Secretary Benson also discussed Michigan’s successful May 5 election, conducted primarily by mail, and the needs states — including Michigan — would face to conduct the August and November elections similarly. These included funding requests for voting equipment to process a greater volume of absentee ballots, personal protection equipment for election workers, and mailing supplies and postage. She also outlined necessary policy changes at the state and federal level, including legislation to enable all voters to vote absentee without an excuse, and called on Congress to provide additional support combating misinformation about voting rights.

“This year, perhaps more than any other, Americans will be inundated by efforts to confuse them — about the election process, their rights, the issues at stake, and whether the elections will be held at all,” said Secretary Benson. “These efforts — foreign, domestic, partisan or simply malicious — are designed to foster mistrust in our elections process, depress turnout and erode confidence in the election results and the sanctity of our democracy. We need cannot let misinformation sow seeds of doubt in our elections. Facts must prevail over fear.”

Read a full copy of her testimony


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