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WATCH: SOS Benson holds news conference on elections legislative agenda

Jocelyn Benson.jpeg
Posted at 12:05 PM, Feb 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-01 13:09:03-05

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson held a news conference Monday to lay out her elections legislative agenda, her goal being to expand election accessibility and further strengthen the infrastructure and security of the state's elections.

Watch the press conference:

"Michigan voters want elections to be accessible, strong and secure," Benson said. "We saw this in 2018 when voters enshrined expanded voting rights in our state constitution, and again in 2020 when record numbers of voters exercised their new rights. Our job now is clear: to defend and protect democracy by ensuring that no matter how one votes, who they vote for, where they live or what they look like, their vote will be counted."

"Advancing the Vote, Protecting Democracy" proposes the following:

- requiring absentee ballot applications be mailed to registered voters every federal election cycle
- mandating ballots postmarked by Election Day and received shortly after are counted
- establishing early in-person voting
- making Election Day a state holiday to facilitate voting and making it easier for citizens to serve as election workers
- allowing overseas service members and spouses to return their ballots electronically
- requiring translated election materials where a significant non-English-speaking community lives
- providing funds to ensure voting locations are ADA-compliant and establish curbside voting
- allowing processing of absentee ballots two weeks prior to Election Day
- prohibiting deceptive election practices that deter or mislead voters
- prohibiting open carry of firearms within 100 feet of a voting location
- mandating training standards for election challengers and election workers
- requiring a statewide risk-limiting audit of election results prior to state certification

Benson says her administration is working with members of the state Legislature to draft and introduce bills that advance the plan.