Ruth Johnson

Bipartisan police reforms win broad support at Senate hearing

BY: - June 3, 2021

A package of bipartisan police reform bills received the backing of Democratic and Republican lawmakers, a retired police detective, a civil rights lawyer and others during a state Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Committee hearing on Thursday. The bills would create guidelines for investigations into officer-involved deaths, limit no-knock warrants and boost support for de-escalation […]

Despite GOP criticism, DHHS director Hertel’s appointment stands

BY: - March 23, 2021

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s appointment of Department of Health and Human Services Director Elizabeth Hertel made it past the opposition of many Senate Republicans Tuesday. On the last day the GOP-controlled chamber could reject Hertel’s appointment under the Michigan Constitution, the Senate voted in support of the DHHS director with an 18-16 vote.  Four Republicans, Sens. […]

List maintenance or voter purges: How the practice of maintaining voter lists became so polarized

BY: and - October 8, 2020

In the last decade, millions of registered voters across the country have been removed from voter rolls.  In 2019, Ohio removed more than 460,000 voter registration files from its list. Georgia removed 313,000 people from its rolls in October 2019 alone, and in Michigan, from 2011 to 2018, 1.2 million voters were removed from voter […]

Legislature OKs bill letting some clerks process ballots before Nov. 3, but nixes Dem attempt to expand it

BY: - September 24, 2020

A bill allowing some election clerks extra time to get absentee ballots ready for counting in the Nov. 3 general election is heading to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.  House lawmakers voted Thursday 94-11 to pass Senate Bill 757, which lets election clerks in cities or townships with more than 25,000 residents to start pre-processing absentee ballots […]

Some clerks could get extra day to process ballots, but SOS says it’s not enough

BY: - September 15, 2020

The Michigan Senate passed legislation Tuesday that would allow some local clerks more time to process ballots for the Nov. 3 general election.  Senate Bill 757, introduced by Republican former Secretary of State and current state Sen. Ruth Johnson (R-Holly), would give city or township clerks in larger communities the day before election day to […]

Michigan can’t count absentee ballots until Election Day. A local clerk wants Whitmer to change that.

BY: - September 11, 2020

Updated, 1:31 p.m., 9/11/20, with comments from Gov. Whitmer’s office Ingham County Clerk Barb Byrum this week sent a letter to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, asking the former to issue executive orders that would speed up ballot processing for the Nov. 3 general election. Byrum requested on Tuesday that Whitmer […]

Report: Michigan ranks 3rd in women’s political participation

BY: - August 26, 2020

From 2011 to 2019, Michigan only had one female top statewide officeholder in then-Secretary of State Ruth Johnson. Now women run Michigan — and that’s one reason why the state ranks third in the country for women’s political participation in a new study from the Washington, D.C.-based Institute for Women’s Policy Research. The state was […]

Election officials beg Legislature for help with surge in absentee voting 

BY: - August 4, 2020

The novel coronavirus has already shaken up work, schools, travel, recreation and more. Now as Michigan’s primary election arrives Tuesday and pandemic-stricken America nears the November general election, the virus looks like it could wreak havoc on the process. In Michigan — where a little more than 2 million voters requested an absentee ballot for […]

Republican sues Michigan to purge voter rolls, SOS says suit uses old data

BY: - June 10, 2020

Michigan’s election officials are being sued in federal court for failing to “clean up the state’s voter rolls,” according to a lawsuit filed Tuesday in Grand Rapids. The Republican activist who filed the lawsuit, Tony Daunt, alleges that Democratic Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson has not done enough to purge ineligible voters and other irregularities […]

Updated: Benson counters Trump’s inaccurate voting tweet: ‘We sent applications, not ballots’

BY: - May 20, 2020

Updated, 5:15 p.m. 5/20/20 A day after Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson announced Michigan residents would receive absentee ballot applications for the August and November elections, the president took to Twitter to falsely accuse the state of voter fraud. In a Wednesday morning tweet, President Trump claimed Michigan is sending absentee ballots to its 7.7 […]

Report: SE Michigan govts. commit ‘highway robbery’ against Detroit drivers

BY: - March 13, 2020

Attorney Geoffrey Leonard recalls meeting with two African-American Detroit clients who had been ticketed for running through an Allen Park stop sign, which was obstructed by a tree. Same intersection. Different day. Different motorists.     “The cops clearly had a practice of waiting there to pull over drivers,” Leonard, a nonprofit Detroit Justice Center (DJC) staff […]

Coronavirus funding goes to Whitmer, Capitol closing Friday for tours, events

BY: - March 12, 2020

To combat the global pandemic of COVID-19, the state Senate Thursday approved $25 million of state funding and $50 million of federal funding to combat coronavirus.  It was part of a Fiscal Year 2020 supplemental spending bill, Senate Bill 151, which the House passed Tuesday.  SB 151 allows for $10 million to be spent on […]