MI Secretary Of State Assures Voters Rights Are Protected

Lansing, MI - Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson assured voters yesterday, August 1, 2022 that they will be safe and their rights will be protected in today’s primary election and in the general election in November.

“My administration has worked with election clerks and law enforcement across the state to ensure they have the information and resources they need to protect voters and their rights, and voters can cast their ballot confident they will be safe and their vote will be counted,” said Benson. “We will not tolerate any voter suppression or election interference attempts in Michigan.”

Benson’s administration has provided numerous materials to clerks and law enforcement, including a code of conduct that clerks can have election inspectors sign before working, to ensure that there is no confusion about election law and enforcement. Her administration is also providing information on social media and elsewhere to inform the public. She said that if anyone witnesses what they believe to be illegal activity, they should report it immediately to their local election clerk, law enforcement, or the voter protection hotline at 866-OUR-VOTE.

Polling places will be open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. today, and voters may submit their absentee ballot to their clerk’s office or drop box by 8 p.m. Citizens who have not yet registered may do so and vote at their clerk’s office until 8 p.m. Voters can find the locations of their polling place, clerk’s office, and drop boxes at Michigan.gov/Vote. At the same site, they can also track the status of a previously mailed or submitted absentee ballot. If it has not yet been received, the voter should contact their clerk immediately.

Benson also warned that after the polls close today and in November, attempts could still be made to mislead voters. Bad actors could wrongly claim that the time it takes to finish counting absentee ballots is evidence of malfeasance, rather than acknowledging the truth: that counting often continues long after polls close because the Michigan Legislature has not provided election clerks time before Election Day to pre-process absentee ballots. Many other states provide multiple days or weeks for preprocessing.

Additional confusion can occur if media report results after polls close and note that they have data from nearly all precincts, but voters don’t realize that half those precincts’ ballots may have been cast absentee and therefore have not been included in the results. Then, as absentee ballot counting boards do finish counting, it can appear as if the total vote counts increased by large numbers long after polls closed and media reported results from most if not all precincts.

Benson urged voters to turn to official, trusted sources of election information, including the websites of their local and county election clerks, and the Michigan Department of State’s website and social media.

Finally, as has already occurred elsewhere in the nation, election canvassers may attempt to sow seeds of doubt in Michigan’s elections by refusing to carry out their duty under the law to canvass and certify the election if their preferred candidate does not win. Benson warned voters to be wary of false claims for refusal to certify, including the minor clerical errors that cause some precincts to be out of balance every election, and conspiracy theories about voting machines, drop boxes and absentee ballots.

“Michigan’s elections are among the most secure and accurate in the nation, and any attempts by canvassers to illegally deny certification will be futile, as we are confident courts would swiftly enforce the law,” said Benson. “Our office will ensure that regardless of who wins or loses an election, the will of the people will rule the day.”

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