Jocelyn Benson lays out agenda for election legislation to protect election workers

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson (D)
Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson (D)(Stephen DeLadurantaye)
Published: Jan. 17, 2023 at 5:12 PM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WLUC) - Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, the chairs of both the Senate and House elections committees, and numerous other lawmakers announced plans Tuesday for election legislation. Benson says her legislative plans “protect the people who protect democracy” – the thousands of election workers and millions of voters in Michigan.

“We have made great strides expanding the voice and protecting the vote of every Michigan citizen over these last few years, but we have more work to do,” said Secretary Benson. “We are in an era of misinformation with voters being lied to about their right to vote and election workers subject to a near constant barrage of threats and harassment for simply doing their jobs. We must do more to protect the people who protect democracy.”

State Senator Jeremy Moss and State Representative Penelope Tsernoglou, the chairs of the Senate and House elections committees respectively, joined Benson in speaking on the need for stronger legislation, as did State Senator Sylvia Santana, and State Representatives Kara Hope and Amos O’Neal.

The group said they would work to:

1. Reintroduce and pass legislation to ban and increase the penalty for threatening, harassing, or doxxing election workers and for pressuring election officials to act illegally

2. Introduce legislation to ban deceptive practices in elections such as lying to voters when seeking signatures on petitions and knowingly sharing false information about elections and citizens’ ability to vote

3. Provide sufficient funding to township, city and county clerks to ensure their security and the security of their elections and voters

Additionally, Benson announced that she is launching an elections policy working group to suggest, review, and provide feedback on election policies on a rolling basis. The group will be comprised of nonpartisan pro-democracy organizations; Republican, Democratic and nonpartisan clerks; the chairs of both legislative elections committees; and representatives from the Executive Office of the Governor.

TV6 reached out to the House Minority Leader’s office for comment on the proposals, and so far, we have not heard back.