Skip to main content

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 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.

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