Detroit Regional Chamber > Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson: Voting by Mail Safe and Secure

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson: Voting by Mail Safe and Secure

May 28, 2020

In some places in the U.S., voting by mail is already commonplace. For Michigan, this method has become more appealing as the COVID-19 pandemic unfolds, and public health and safety takes precedence. Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson joined Detroit Regional Chamber President and CEO Sandy K. Baruah in today’s Tele-Town Hall to discuss voting by mail and answer the security concerns of Michiganders.

Baruah began by asking Benson if voting by mail naturally favors the Republican Party since it has older voters. There is no data to show any disparities with voting by mail, Benson replied, adding that voting by mail is popular across both political parties.

Benson made news when her office proactively sent applications for absentee ballots by mail to Michiganders and came under criticism from President Trump. She clarified that her office sent applications and not actual ballots.

When it comes to expanding voting by mail, Benson emphasized that it comes down to if voters want it or not. It has to be a voter-driven decision, not one made by the legislature, she said. The difference between voting by mail in Michigan versus states like Oregon is other states proactively mail out ballots, while Michiganders must affirmatively request them.

A major concern for many Michiganders is keeping voting safe and secure, and some worry that widespread voting by mail could allow for voting fraud. Benson confirmed that her office has measures in place to prevent fraud including catching forged signatures.

Benson emphasized that her priority as secretary of state is to make ballots more accessible.

“Ultimately creating opportunities for people to have choices for how they vote and how they cast that ballot,” said Benson.