By Jessica Mathews /

Michigan’s Secretary of State is calling for non-partisan legislative changes ahead of this year’s statewide elections.

Jocelyn Benson hosted a press conference Tuesday and highlighted changes she says are needed and called on the legislature to pass four bills.

Benson said to meet the needs of voters, escalating costs and other challenges; the legislature needs to take action rather than “continuing to spread misinformation with legislation and proposals in search of non-existent problems”. She said four policy changes are critical to this year's elections.

Among those listed was support from the legislature in the form of laws that will require stiffer penalties for those who threaten or harass election workers. Benson stressed that election officials, election workers, and the volunteers who support them deserve protection to ensure their safety, that of their families, and every voter they serve.

Benson said in recent years, election workers and their families have become the target of threats and harassment - in part as a result of the growth of misinformation around elections. As a result, she said many who collectively have decades of experience are leaving their positions and are no longer willing to take further abuse for doing their jobs

Benson called for bills to allow for the pre-processing of absentee ballots so that voters can get election results on election night, and permit military service members to return their ballots electronically.

Benson further highlighted a need for consistent and sufficient funding for election administration to the tune of $100 (m) million, saying relying on local governments and federal agencies has resulted in unpredictable and unstable funding for election access, equipment, technology and security.

A press release is attached. A link to the press conference is provided.