The Michigan GOP and Chair Ron Weiser are suing Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, challenging $3.4 million of campaign donations to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer that they say is illegal.
A lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan aims to force Benson to apply Michigan election law, compliant with the First and Fourteenth Amendments, to equally enforce contribution limits on all candidates. Whitmer raised funds over Michigan’s $7,150 contribution limit under the loophole of the recall exception, despite no apparent active recall efforts. Read More
Republican state legislators are encouraging Michigan voters to register their opinions on three election procedural rules changes promulgated by Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson.
The Department of State will conduct a public hearing on the proposed rules on Friday, Oct. 1.
The three rule changes include:
Significantly altering the process to allow the disqualification of candidates by city and township clerks for election finance violations; Read More
Creating a state database of voter signatures whereby voters could upload signatures rather than submitting an original ink signature with local election officials;
Relaxing standards of signature verification for absentee ballots, relying on an automatic presumption a voter’s signature is valid.
A Republican Michigan state senator claimed Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson (D) is seizing control of the absentee ballot distribution process and “forcing sensitive voter information to be transmitted over the internet.”
State Sen. Jon Bumstead (R) said in a press release that he has created a website for constituents to register their concerns about changes Benson wants to make to how absentee ballots are distributed and counted. Read More
Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson (D) is seeking to make permanent a unilateral rule she ordered in 2020 that effectively decreased scrutiny of absentee ballot signatures.
A court ruled Benson’s order to assume signatures matched was illegal because she did not follow the proper procedure in changing the rules shortly before the election. Read More
Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson (D) returned a campaign contribution that violated donation limits, while Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) has refused to do the same.
Benson and Whitmer collected contributions in excess of the $7,150 limit by arguing they were facing a recall election, which a previous Secretary of State arbitrarily ruled would exempt an elected official from limits if subjected to a recall. But Benson and Whitmer’s recall concerns were never serious as no organized effort to collect the sufficient amount of signatures — over 1 million — was ever launched. Read More
Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, speaking remotely to the American Bar Association on Monday, called for “educating voters” about supposed GOP efforts underway to “undermine democracy,” but questions remain regarding her role with the “voter education” efforts of a Mark Zuckerberg-funded nonprofit she founded.
Benson is a former president of the Michigan Center for Election Law and Administration (MCELA), an organization that received $12 million in grants from the D.C.-based Center for Election Innovation and Research. Read More
Ned Staebler, the university administrator who notoriously spouted a furious tirade against two Wayne County Republican election officials in a public meeting last November, is also treasurer of an entity promoted by Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson (D) for “nonpartisan voter education.”
On November 17, 2020, Staebler, vice president for economic development at Wayne State University and head of the business-development organization TechTown Detroit, blasted county Board of Canvassers’ members Monica Palmer and William Hartmann for initially voting to block the certification of votes in Wayne County. Read More
Republican leaders in either chamber of Michigan’s state legislature, both of which have GOP majorities, have yet to indicate whether they intend to investigate expenditures made by an election-related nonprofit that was founded by Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson (D).
The Michigan Center for Election Law and Administration (MCELA), as The Michigan Star has reported, received a $12 million grant in September 2020 from a national nonprofit, the Center for Election Innovation and Research (CEIR). Read More
A complaint filed by the nonprofit Michigan Freedom Fund (MFF) last week alleges that that state’s governor, Gretchen Whitmer, has taken illegal advantage of a campaign-finance loophole to raise unlawful amounts of cash.
Individuals may contribute up to $7,150 according to state law, though a 1984 administrative ruling by then Michigan Secretary of State Richard Austin (D) sought to negate that limit for candidates facing recalls. Whitmer has relied on that ruling in surpassing the contribution limit. Read More
The Michigan Supreme Court denied a request from Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson and the Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission to grant an extension for redrawing the state’s district map.
Benson and the ICRC filed a Petition for Relief with the Court in April, asking the Court to recognize the ICRC’s constitutionally imposed deadline as “unrealistic.” The petition argued the new timeline would ensure the Bureau of Elections had sufficient time to update the state’s voter registration database with the new district lines. Additionally, they argued, local clerks would be able to create and provide every voter with a correct ballot.
The extension was requested because of the six-month delay of 2020 U.S. Census data due to the coronavirus pandemic, which, it anticipated, would precipitate lawsuits. U.S. Census data is scheduled to become available Oct. 1. The ICRC was seeking to move its deadline from mid-September to Dec. 11, which would push back approval of final district maps to Jan. 25, 2022. The deadline for the filing of candidates for the November 2022 election is April 15. Read More
A bill introduced to the Michigan Legislature aims to stop the black-market sale of Secretary of State (SOS) appointments.
When SOS Jocelyn Benson in May said the state would permanently end walk-in service, arguing the walk-in system was inefficient, the announcement sparked a black market of Michiganders so desperate for an appointment some chose to pay for an otherwise free service. Read More
Hundreds of people concerned about the integrity of the Nov. 2020 election gathered outside the Michigan Capitol Thursday to protest and deliver roughly 7,000 affidavits claiming fraud and demanding a forensic audit.
Michigan Conservation Coalition spokesperson Matt Seely said thousands of Michigan voters have questioned the integrity of the 2020 election.
“If we do a deep-dive forensic audit similar to Arizona, it will do either one of two things. It will prove that all of the politicians who say there’s nothing to see there, that they were right. Or it will prove that there’s a big problem with the integrity of our elections and that we need to address it in a major way,” he told The Center Square in a phone interview. Read More
Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson on Thursday asked for an unspecified amount of money to completely revamp the Michigan Department of State (MDOS).
The money would be used to provide “pop-up” offices, provide virtual interactions instead of in-person, and pass other laws that would result in less interaction with the department.
“Michiganders can now complete most of their transactions online, by mail or at one of our new self-service stations located at their local grocery store,” Benson said. “And the remaining in-person transactions are carried out by appointment, ensuring the vast majority of customers have little to no wait time.” Read More
Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson has filed suit with the Michigan Supreme Court to ensure the public has time to provide feedback on the new voting district maps that will be drawn by the Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission (MICRC).
The suit describes the current constitutional deadline as unrealistic since it requires the commission to make maps available for 45 days of public comment starting on Sept. 17, even though the U.S. Census Bureaus won’t have official data until Sept. 30. The U.S. Census Bureau cited the COVID-19 pandemic as the reason for the delay. Read More
A group directly linked to Mark Zuckerberg donated nearly $12 million to a Michigan nonprofit to help state residents vote absentee for the 2020 presidential election. Zuckerberg and his associates donated the money with the blessing of Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson. Read More
A Northern Michigan judge has allowed Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel and Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson to block the results of a forensic audit of Dominion machines in Antrim County, where thousands of votes for President Trump were flipped to Joe Biden.
Chief Judge Kevin A. Elsenheimer last week issued an order granting a local man, William Baily, permission for a forensic examination of the county’s 22 Dominion tabulators. Read More
Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson’s spokesperson stated that a viral post alleging that a 118-year-old man voted was true, but was probably due to a mistyped entry. Fact-checkers said that they discovered another individual with the same name in the area.
The post featured a screen recording: an individual typed in “William Bradley” into the state’s voter information page, followed by a birth date and zip code. Immediately, the search returned with Bradley’s city clerk information as well as a confirmation that an absentee ballot had been received. Read More
Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said Sunday that it could take up to a week to count all of Michigan’s absentee ballots for November’s election.
“We should be prepared for this to be closer to an election week, as opposed to an Election Day,” she said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “The bottom line is we are not going to have the full results and a counting of all of our ballots on election night.”
Benson said that Michigan’s election officials were “laser-focused” on ensuring that all ballots are counted accurately, and referenced how her office had purchased more voting tabulators in order to ensure that the influx of absentee ballots could be counted as efficiently as possible. Read More
Michigan and Ohio state secretaries Jocelyn Benson and Frank LaRose endorsed $300 million directed to elections by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan. The Center for Tech and Civil Life (CTCL) and Center for Election Innovation and Research (CEIR) announced Tuesday that Zuckerberg and his wife donated in order “to promote safe and reliable voting in states and localities.”
Both Benson and LaRose agreed that the investment was necessary considering the pandemic’s effects on the presidential election. LaRose reposted the press release the day it came out, citing the need for accurate information during voting. Read More
A coalition filed two lawsuits in Michigan on Monday, a federal case against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer for allegedly silencing political speech, and a state suit against Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson for reportedly circumventing state law protecting the right of Michiganders to have their vote properly counted.
The lawsuits were announced on a new website launched by the coalition: Got Freedom? The website is available here. Read More
Election integrity advocates believe something fishy is going on in Wayne County with absentee ballots, and they say Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson is undermining the security of the process there and across Michigan.
Glen Sitek of the Election Integrity Fund provided an exclusive statement to The Michigan Star. Read More
Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said the results of Tuesday’s primary will be reported later than usual because of an increase in absentee voting. Read More
Security concerns and staff turnover continue to plague the Michigan Secretary of State’s Office, according to recent reports. Read More
Michigan State University could implement a new “fall break” that would give students Election Day off. Read More
Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said Michigan driver’s licenses could have a gender-neutral option after her office completes a technology overhaul in 2021. Read More
The new self-service stations being installed across Michigan will allow customers to complete their transactions in Spanish or Arabic, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson announced. Read More
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive order Monday establishing a new Task Force on Women in Sports. “Multiple studies have documented that women who play sports are more likely to seek and fill leadership roles in other sectors. Yet even with the enactment of Title IX nearly fifty… Read More
A political group that helped elect Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D-MI) was recently required to pay a $37,500 and dissolve within 60 days after being found responsible for violating campaign finance laws. Whitmer’s own campaign committee was also found guilty of coordinating with Build a Better Michigan on advertisements, though it’s… Read More