Benson calls on state lawmakers to make it easier to vote, harder to cheat
MARCH 22, 2021
Two dozen lawmakers sponsoring bills to protect democracy, voting rights
Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson called on legislative leaders today to begin work in earnest to make it easier to vote and harder to cheat by moving bills that align with the Advance The Vote agenda she unveiled in February.
"Michigan voters elected me because I promised to make it easier to vote and harder to cheat in Michigan elections," said Benson. "And that's exactly what I did in the 2020 elections, which saw millions of voters utilize new expanded voting rights, and was audited more than any election in state history."
Benson noted the 2020 general election saw more than 3.3 million Michigan citizens cast absentee ballots, including nearly 30,000 who registered on Election Day. More than 250 post-election audits were then conducted by the state Bureau of Elections and more than 1,300 Republican, Democratic and non-partisan clerks around the state.
"I'm grateful to the two dozen state lawmakers who have sponsored bills that further the will of Michigan voters, and it's time for legislative leaders to move them forward," said Benson. "All voters deserve convenient and equal access to their right to vote absentee. Clerks deserve time and support to process absentee ballots in the days leading up to Election Day so that we have results shortly after polls close. And a post-election audit should be conducted before results are certified."
Numerous bills have been introduced in the state House and Senate that align with Secretary Benson's legislative agenda, including House Bills 4361 and 4362 and Senate Bills 0008 and 0009. These bills propose the following:
- Require clerks to maintain a permanent absentee voter application list.
- Require counting of absentee ballots postmarked on or before Election Day and received by clerk within 48 hours.
- Require absentee ballot applications be sent by clerks to all electors.
- Ensure voters have the ability to fix signature errors on absentee ballot applications and ballots.
- Allow absentee ballot processing up to 22 days before Election Day.
- Ensure the votes of military servicemembers overseas are counted by allowing them to return their ballots electronically.
All of the bills have been referred to committee, but none have received a hearing or vote.
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