Benson Says Despite COVID-19, Voter Turnout Expected To Be High
May 5, 2020
By Jessica Mathews/News@whmi.com
During current times of uncertainty, Michigan’s Secretary of State says the integrity of elections must be preserved by holding them but doing so in safe ways for everyone involved.
It’s an Election Day in Michigan and Jocelyn Benson joined Governor Gretchen Whitmer during a press conference Monday afternoon. She said it’s important to protect Michiganders and their ability to vote, hold elected officials accountable and weigh in on critical issues. Benson noted that 50 local communities will hold the first elections in the state since coronavirus was reported. In Livingston County, the Clerk’s webpage states that all proposals have been withdrawn for the May 5th special election.
Benson said she’s worked with Whitmer and legislative leaders on an executive order that required local communities to conduct elections primarily by mail. Benson said recognizing the unique needs of many voters; they required that one polling location be open in each jurisdiction with an election.
Benson said voter turnout is expected to be 20% but it will ultimately be more than twice the average turnout for May elections – which is typically 12%. She said more than 140,00 citizens have returned ballots by mail, even in times of great uncertainty, demonstrating that people want to vote and weigh in on important local issues.
Benson says her office has been in near constant contact with local clerks and provided detailed guidance to ensure social distancing practices are in place while also providing personal protective equipment for election workers to utilize. She says they further recruited people to assist clerks so that anyone who didn’t feel comfortable working wasn’t required to do so.