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Jocelyn Benson

Michigan Secretary of State

Jocelyn Benson is Michigan's 43rd Secretary of State.

In this role, she has ensured elections are secure and accessible, and dramatically improved Secretary of State driver and customer experiences for all Michiganders.

Benson oversaw Michigan’s 2020 and 2022 general elections, both of which drew record-breaking turnout and were more secure than any prior election in state history. She also implemented new voting rights for all eligible Michiganders prior to the 2020 election, including the right to vote absentee, and oversaw more than 250 audits after the election, all of which affirmed its integrity and accuracy.

Benson also transformed the customer service operations of the Secretary of State’s office. She doubled the number of services available online, installed more than 160 self-service stations statewide, mostly at grocery stores, and ended the take-a-ticket-and-wait system that had resulted in hours-long lines at offices for years. Now, most transactions are conducted without an office visit at all and when residents do visit an office, they are in and out in an average of 20 minutes or less.

A graduate of Harvard Law School and expert on civil rights law, education law and election law, Benson served as dean of Wayne State University Law School in Detroit. When she was appointed dean at age 36, she became the youngest woman in U.S. history to lead a top-100, accredited law school. She continues to serve as vice chair of the advisory board for the Levin Center at Wayne Law, which she founded with former U.S. Sen. Carl Levin. Previously, Benson was an associate professor and associate director of Wayne Law’s Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights.

Benson is the author of State Secretaries of State: Guardians of the Democratic Process, the first major book on the role of the secretary of state in enforcing election and campaign finance laws. She is also a co-founder and former president of Military Spouses of Michigan, a network dedicated to providing support and services to military spouses and their children.

In 2015, she became one of the youngest women in history to be inducted into the Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame. She received the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award and the Presidential Citizens Medal for her work in protecting democracy.

 

Additional priorities

Task Force on Women in Sports
Secretary Benson is the Chair of Michigan’s Task Force on Women in Sports, created by Governor Gretchen Whitmer in 2019 to advance opportunities for women in Michigan as athletes and sports leaders.

Task Force on Women in Sports


Government transparency

Secretary Benson is an advocate for government transparency, and has repeatedly called on the state Legislature to rise to the standards of transparency modeled by the Department of State under her leadership.

Government transparency


Military servicemembers and their families

Secretary Benson is a military spouse and a co-founder of the Military Spouses of Michigan. She continues to advocate for the state Legislature to allow service members and their spouses serving overseas to return their ballots electronically to ensure they are received in time to be counted.

Military servicemembers

Resources

  • Name Dates Served 
    Jocelyn Benson 2019 -
    Ruth Johnson 2011 - 2019
    Terri Lynn Land 2003 - 2011
    Candice S. Miller 1995 - 2003
    Richard H. Austin 1971 - 1995
    James M. Hare 1955 - 1971
    Owen J. Cleary 1953 - 1954
    Fred M. Alger, Jr. 1947 - 1952
    Herman H. Dignan 1943 - 1946
    Harry F. Kelly 1939 - 1942
    Leon D. Case 1937 - 1938
    Orville E. Atwood 1935 - 1936
    Clarke W. Brown 1934
    Frank D. Fitzgerald 1931 - 1934
    John S. Haggerty 1927 - 1930
    Charles J. DeLand 1921 - 1926
    Coleman C. Vaughan 1915 - 1920
    Frederick C. Martindale 1909 - 1914
    George A. Prescott 1905 - 1908
    Fred M. Warner 1901 - 1904
    Justus S. Stearns 1899 - 1900
    Washington Gardner 1894 - 1898
    John W. Jochim 1893 - 1894
    Robert R. Blacker 1891 - 1892
    Daniel E. Soper 1891
    Gilbert R. Osmun 1887 - 1890
    Harry A. Conant 1883 - 1886
    William Jenny 1879 - 1882
    Ebenezer G. D. Holden 1875 - 1878
    Daniel Striker 1871 - 1874
    Oliver L. Spaudling 1867 - 1870
    James B. Porter 1861 - 1866
    Nelson G. Isbell 1859 - 1860
    John McKinney 1855 - 1858
    William Graves 1853 - 1854
    Charles H. Taylor 1850 - 1852
    George R. Redfield 1850
    George W. Peck 1848 - 1850
    Gideon O. Whittemore 1846 - 1848
    Robert P. Eldredge 1842 - 1846
    Thomas Rowland 1840 - 1842
    Randolph Manning 1838 - 1840
    Kintzing Pritchette 1835 - 1838