LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson has called for improved security plans to prevent any kind of disruptions at polling places around the state this election season.

Given the recent alleged murders in Buffalo, the woman in charge of making sure Michigan’s elections are not subject to disruptions of any kind is not taking any chances.

“I am very concerned given the events of the last week but the increased in threats toward election workers and candidates who have made statements that are extraordinarily irresponsible,” said Benson. “Continuing conversations with local law enforcement and have security protocols to insure that the goal of safety for everyone is there on election day.”

Benson additionally wants to make it a felony to threaten election workers.

The SoS has been the target of demonstrations in front of her home and reports that some veteran election workers are retiring in the wake of threats of violence surrounding the right to vote.

For Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, four legislative changes are necessary for this year’s election.

Benson called for the state Legislature to pass bills that do the following: 

  • Get Michigan voters election results on election night by allowing preprocessing of absentee ballots. 
    • Michigan law does not allow absentee ballot processing to begin until Election Day. Becuase of thsi, voters have to wait up to 24 hours after polls close to get results.
  • Strengthen the security of elections with consistent and sufficient funding.
    • Benson is calling for the state Legislature to dedicate $100 million annually to Michigan townships, cities, and counties.
  • Increase penalties for anyone who threatens, harasses or doxxes election workers.
    • Election officials, workers, and volunteers are increasingly the targets of threats and harassment in Michigan and across the country. They play a critical role in our democracy and need to be protected. 
  • Protect the voting rights of military service members and their spouses overseas by permitting them to return their ballots electronically.
    • According to Benson, about 25% of Michigan military ballots were returned too late to be counted or not at all in the 2020 presidential election, potentially disenfranchising more than 1,600 members of our armed services.

Michigan voters deserve election results on election night and for their elections to be sufficiently funded. Election workers and officials need the state’s protection to continue doing their jobs with integrity, and our military service members and their spouses defending our democracy overseas must have certainty that their ballot will be counted here at home. The strength and security of Michigan’s elections are second to none, but these four legislative changes are critically needed by election clerks on both sides of the aisle and Republican, Democratic and Independent voters statewide.” 

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson

Michigan’s primary elections will be held on August 2. The general election is on November 8.