Jocelyn Benson Outlines Election Security Plan with Sweeping Changes to Protect Voting Process

 In Press
Tuesday, August 21st, 2018

Jocelyn Benson Outlines Election Security Plan with Sweeping Changes to Protect Voting Process

Calls for risk-limiting audits, training, penalties, Election Security Commission


Jocelyn Benson, Democratic candidate for Michigan Secretary of State, today called for sweeping changes that will ensure the security of Michigan’s elections in the face of domestic and foreign threats that could undermine the security of America’s democracy.

Benson detailed her plan in remarks before the Michigan Association of County Clerks in Traverse City.

“The security of our elections is critical to the security of our democracy,” Benson said.  “Michigan’s next Secretary of State must be prepared on day one, as I am, to ensure our elections are secured against all known and emerging threats.  I will be that leader.  Today I am laying out a plan that will bring the best practices in election security to Michigan, with an eye towards making it easier to vote and harder to cheat.”

A nationally-respected election law expert who has authored the defining book on best practices of state Secretaries of State across the nation, Benson’s vision is to make Michigan a national model in election security by improving voter registration accuracy, protecting voting systems, verifying the tabulation of ballots, and standardizing election worker training. 

“Voting must remain a sacred right and every legitimate vote must be counted,” Benson added. “This plan will ensure that happens.” 

Benson, who has developed and supervised three election protection efforts in Michigan, has met and worked with election security experts nationally and in Michigan throughout her career.  She seeks to bring the best practices in election security to Michigan including the following:    

Risk-Limiting Post-Election Audits (RLA)

Benson will make risk-limiting post election audits standard-operating procedure in Michigan, following the model in place in Colorado and New Mexico, which employs statistically-based audit techniques to provide statistical confidence that the election result is correct. The RLA also provides a high probability of discovering and taking appropriate action in the case of a wrong outcome.

Improved Poll Worker Training, Recruitment, and Accountability

Poll worker training will be standardized across the state, eliminating inconsistencies and ensuring that workers are prepared to help conduct elections, address problems that may arise, ensure that every legitimate vote is counted, and that election results can be verified.

Convene an Election Security Commission

Benson will convene the nation’s top election security experts to advise Michigan on ways to make its elections more secure. The Commission would hold also hold town halls and invite citizen and expert input on election problems and security. The goal would be to come up with a better election infrastructure and a long-term funding plan, with the possibility of establishing an Office of Election Security within the Secretary of State’s Office.

Tough, New Penalties for Equipment Tampering

Benson’s will work to stiffen penalties for tampering with voting systems or machines.  She will specifically work to make it a felony to tamper with voting systems or devices, or equipment on which a vote is cast and counted, which will go a long way in deterring would-be hackers from tampering with Michigan’s voting systems.

Strengthen the Accuracy of the Qualified Voter File

Finally, under Benson’s plan Michigan will join the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC), a self-governing non-profit, which is dedicated to improving the accuracy of voter files through cross-state data matching and electronically verifying voter registration records using other national databases. A reputable collaboration of Secretaries of State from across the country with support from the Pew Charitable Trusts, ERIC currently includes some 22 states. 

In addition to securing Michigan’s elections, Benson vision for the Secretary of State includes a 30-Minute Guarantee for services overseen by the Secretary of State, a ban on fee increases that have hit Michigan families hard in recent years, protecting voting rights and expanding ethics and transparency in state government.

For more details on Benson’s vision visit:

Benson will officially be nominated for the November ballot on Sunday, August 26th at the Michigan Democratic Party nominating convention in East Lansing.

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