Benson For Secretary of State (D)
The secretary of state’s office is possibly the most important state-wide office, so far as the average citizen is concerned. Most people do not have direct interaction with the governor, the attorney general or the state legislature, but the secretary of state interacts with people in myriad ways. The secretary of state not only issues drivers licenses and license plates, but also oversees elections. Therefore, we need the best possible person for the job.
In our opinion, Jocelyn Benson is that best person. Benson, a Wayne State University Law School professor who teaches election law, recognizes that because of the office’s role in overseeing elections, the secretary of state must remain above the fray, and has taken a vow of non-partisanship. She would crack down on campaign finances and money in politics to root out corruption; and crack down on any voter fraud or deceptive practices. A partisan secretary of state would be hard-pressed to accomplish either goal.
Benson would also look into the current practice of requiring people to provide their Social Security numbers when getting or renewing their licenses, to make sure it’s not being misused. She acknowledged both the need to work with the federal government to make sure records are as accurate as possible, and the need to respect citizens’ privacy.
She would also make voter registration easier by having mobile branch offices that would go to the people, rather than require them to come to a secretary of state branch office.
Benson would implement a policy that would make a 16- or 17-year-old who gets his or her license for the first time automatically eligible to vote upon turning 18, unless he or she opts out. She would also enable people with a driver’s license or state ID card to register to vote online, and would work with the legislature to enable “no reason need be given” absentee voting.
Given the abysmal voter turnout in most elections, making voter registration easier is a step in the right direction.
Benson would add mandatory random audits to a small percentage of the optical scan machines throughout the state. While stating the machines are the most secure option, she said these mandatory random audits will help ensure an accurate.
For these reasons — and more — we endorse Jocelyn Benson.
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