Advance Notice: Briefs

Benson to address DNC on mail-in voting

By: - August 17, 2020 9:54 am

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson on Mackinac Island, May 30, 2019 | Susan J. Demas

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson will be speaking at the Democratic National Convention this week, joining fellow Michiganders Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and state Rep. Mari Manoogian (D-Birmingham).

Benson is slated to speak Thursday evening along with California Secretary of State Alex Padilla on voting rights. The duo will encourage viewers to exercise their right to vote safely in November following a tribute to the late U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.).

“Let’s be clear. There is absolutely zero difference between voting by mail and voting absentee. Millions of Americans vote absentee and have for decades. Donald Trump, his family, his staff: they all vote by mail. In fact, states like Colorado, Utah and Oregon have been voting by mail for years. Republicans and Democrats agree that it’s safe,” Benson will say in pre-recorded remarks.

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Benson has been a national advocate for mail-in voting. Voters in 2018 approved Proposal 3, which guarantees the right for all citizens in Michigan. Prior to the August primary, Benson mailed absent voter ballot applications to every registered voter in the spring. Trump, who has spread false information about absentee voting, torched Benson on Twitter for taking that action.

More than 2.5 million people voted in Michigan in the statewide primary election, according to the Secretary of State’s office. That broke the record set in 2018 for an August primary, despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Two years ago, 2.2 million voted. In 2020, more than 1.6 million voted absentee.

“As the country prepares to vote this fall amidst a global pandemic, it is critical that every citizen knows how to exercise their right to vote and ensure their ballot is counted,” Benson said.

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Susan J. Demas

Susan J. Demas is a 21-year journalism veteran and one of the state’s foremost experts on Michigan politics, appearing on MSNBC, CNN, NPR and WKAR-TV’s “Off the Record.” In addition to serving as Editor-in-Chief, she is the Advance’s chief columnist, writing on women, LGBTQs, the state budget, the economy and more. Most recently, she served as Vice President of Farough & Associates, Michigan’s premier political communications firm. For almost five years, Susan was the Editor and Publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, the most-cited political newsletter in the state. Susan’s award-winning political analysis has run in more than 80 national, international and regional media outlets, including the Guardian U.K., NBC News, the New York Times, the Detroit News and MLive. She is the only Michigan journalist to be named to the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Reporters,” the Huffington Post’s list of “Best Political Tweeters” and the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Bloggers.” Susan was the recipient of a prestigious Knight Foundation fellowship in nonprofits and politics. She served as Deputy Editor for MIRS News and helped launch the Michigan Truth Squad, the Center for Michigan’s fact-checking project. She started her journalism career reporting on the Iowa caucuses for The (Cedar Rapids) Gazette. Susan has hiked over 4,000 solo miles across four continents and climbed more than 70 mountains. She also enjoys dragging her husband and two teenagers along, even if no one else wants to sleep in a tent anymore.