Benson: Voter rights will be protected during primaries, November election

Ahead of the August primary elections on Tuesday, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said voters can be assured their rights will be protected.
Published: Aug. 1, 2022 at 2:54 PM EDT
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SAGINAW, Mich. (WNEM) - Ahead of the August primary elections on Tuesday, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said voters can be assured their rights will be protected.

“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 tomorrow confident they will be safe, and their vote will be counted,” Benson said. “We will not tolerate any voter suppression or election interference attempts in Michigan.”

Benson’s office said materials have been provided to clerks and law enforcement, including a code of conduct that clerks can have election inspectors sign before working, to ensure there is no confusion about election law and enforcement.

Benson also warned after the polls close, voters should be aware counting often continues long after polls close. Confusion can also occur if results are reported but votes have not been counted for each precinct.

Benson also said some election canvassers may attempt to sow seeds of doubt in elections by refusing to carry out their duty and certify the election.

“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,” Benson said. “Our office will ensure that regardless of who wins or loses an election, the will of the people will rule the day.”

“I am here to assure voters that they will be safe and that their rights will be protected,” Benson said.

Benson said those unhappy with the results of the November 2020 election are trying to undermine this one.

“This multi-faceted attack is carried out with misinformation, lies, legislative strategy, meritless lawsuits, and threats to, and harassment of election officials and their families,” Benson said.

Benson points out there have been more than 200 audits and reviews of the November 2020 election by both a Republican-led committee and the state’s auditor general that confirmed votes were counted accurately and fairly.

Given that, Benson said conspiracy theorists aren’t giving up.

She said they could make a failed attempt to delegitimize the results of this year’s state primary and November election.

“Bad actors could wrongly claim that the time it takes to finish counting absentee ballots is evidence of malfeasance rather than simply acknowledging the truth. That counting often continues long after polls close because the Michigan state legislature has not provided Michigan election clerks time before election day to preprocess absentee ballots,” Benson said.

She said any attempts to disrupt the election, suppress voters, or interfere with the election, will not be tolerated.

Polling places will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Voters can submit absentee ballots to their clerk’s office or by drop box by 8 p.m.

If you need to find your local polling place, clerk’s office, and drop boxes, go to Michigan.gov/Vote.

If anyone witnesses what they believe to be illegal activity, you can report it to your local election clerk, law enforcement, or the voter protection hotline at 866-OUR-VOTE.