DETROIT (WXYZ) — Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson is once again calling for changes ahead of the 2022 November election.
Benson outlined her legislative agenda that includes four different items, that she said would allow the processing of absentee ballots earlier, give cities and townships money directly for elections, protect election administrators and more.
The first item, she said, would allow clerks more time to process absentee ballots ahead of election day. That does not mean counting the absentee ballots.
A new law in 2020 did give some areas with at least 25,000 people the ability to pre-process ballots the morning of the day before the election, but many did not take advantage of the change, which could lead to delayed results, which we saw in 2020. That law also did not extend to the 2022 election.
Pre-processing includes taking the ballots out of the outer envelope and sorting them, but not counting them.
"Michigan voters want results on election night," she said.
Benson is also asking the legislature to allocate $100 million every year to cities, townships and other municipalities that will go directly for election administration, which could help get results faster.
Third, Benson said the legislature needs to protect election workers and others, especially after many of them faced threats after the 2020 election. She said there should be tougher penalties for those who threaten election workers.
"I will always prioritize protecting our workers and volunteers on election say," she said.
Finally, Benson said military voters and their spouses should be able to submit their ballots electronically through e-mail. Under current Michigan law, military members and their spouses can obtain an absentee ballot but it has to be mailed back.
"Running safe and secure elections is not a partisan endeavor," Benson said.