Benson to address voting rights at DNC on Thursday


FILE – In this March 5, 2020, file photo, Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson speaks at a news conference in Lansing, Mich. Michigan’s top election official said Tuesday, May, 19, 2020, that absentee ballot applications will be mailed to all 7.7 million registered voters for the August primary and November general election. Benson said the step — announced as the state continues to confront the coronavirus pandemic — ensures no one “has to to choose between their health and their right to vote.” (AP Photo/David Eggert, File)

MILWAUKEE, Wis. (WJMN) — Voting rights will be front and center at the Democratic National Convention when Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson and her colleague, California Secretary of State Alex Padilla, address the issue before a nationally-televised audience Thursday evening. 

Benson and Padilla’s remarks, which will encourage viewers to exercise their right to vote safely in November, will follow the party’s tribute to the late Congressman John Lewis.

In pre-recorded remarks Benson will offer the following:

“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 has been on the forefront of encouraging citizens to exercise their right to vote safely by mail or in person, particularly in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The right to vote by mail – otherwise known as absentee voting – was cemented in the Michigan Constitution under the Promote the Vote ballot proposal overwhelmingly approved by voters in 2018. 

To ensure voters know their rights Benson mailed absent voter ballot applications to every registered voter in the spring, which resulted in record-breaking numbers of voters casting ballots from home in the August Primary. 

Later this month, Benson’s office will mailing postcards to the 4.4 million active, registered voters who are not on a permanent absent-voter list and have not already applied to have their November ballot mailed to them.

“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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