Advance Notice: Briefs

Benson forms election security commission

By: - March 21, 2019 10:28 am

Jocelyn Benson

In an effort to ensure the integrity of Michigan’s elections, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson has named 18 people to a new Election Security Commission.

The group will be made up of local and national experts in the fields of cybersecurity and election security, according to a press release. The commission will be co-chaired by David Becker, executive director of the nonprofit Center for Election Innovation & Research, and J. Alex Halderman, professor of computer science and engineering at the University of Michigan.

The commission will be staffed and facilitated by state employees in the secretary of state’s office.

“The security of our elections is critical to the security of our democracy,” Benson said in a statement. “I am grateful that many of our nation’s top election security experts have joined forces with our local election officials to develop a plan that will ensure Michigan’s elections are secured against all known and emerging threats.”

The commission plans to convene its first meeting in April and meet with citizens and other election experts around the state. It is expected to offer a series of recommendations and reforms by the end of the year.

The commission’s work will be funded by a federal grant for election security.

Among those on the panel are Wayne County Clerk Cynthia Garrett; Tripp Adams, Michigan chapter lead for the Truman National Security Project; and Ingham County clerk Barb Byrum, a former member of the Election Center’s Security Task Force. Byrum, a former state House member, briefly considered a Secretary of State bid in 2018.

Last month, Benson announced a new Election Modernization Advisory Committee.

That panel will advise her administration and the Bureau of Elections on implementing Proposal 3 of 2018 and other election reforms. Enacted by voters last year, Proposal 3 allows for no-reason, mail-in voting and other reforms.

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Nick Manes
Nick Manes

Nick Manes is a former Michigan Advance reporter, covering West Michigan, business and labor, health care and the safety net. He previously spent six years as a reporter at MiBiz covering commercial real estate, economic development and all manner of public policy at the local and state levels.