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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 presidential election, which drew record-breaking turnout – 5.5 million voters – and was the most secure election in state history. She implemented new voting rights for all eligible Michiganders prior to the 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.
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.
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.
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.
List of Michigan Secretaries of State
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