Secretary still moves forward with insecure online absentee form
State Rep. Steve Carra, House majority vice chair of the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR), today highlighted the committee’s successful opposition to proposed rules that would have undermined the integrity of Michigan elections, while slamming Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson’s continued attempt to let voters apply for an absentee ballot online.
“Secretary Benson tried to undermine election integrity by manipulating our rigorous signature matching laws,” said Carra, R-Three Rivers. “Our legislative oversight — and public pressure — shone a spotlight on her radical agenda and forced her to backtrack on her proposal to make absentee voting less secure.
“The secretary of state may have changed course a little, but she is still pressing forward to let people apply for an absentee ballot online, ignoring state law that explicitly requires voters to sign any absentee application so election officials can verify their identity.”
Michigan law requires absentee voters to complete and sign an application in order to receive a ballot, and the signed form is to be compared to the signature in the voter’s file. Last year, Benson proposed administrative rules to require local election officials to review signatures on absentee applications and ballots starting with a presumption that the signature is valid. She also proposed a rule to maintain the online absentee application she launched in June 2020, which allows any voter to request a ballot without physically signing the application.
After Carra and JCAR reviewed the rules last month, Benson today said she would be making some changes in light of the committee’s suggestions to amend the proposed election rules. She indicated she would remove the language requiring officials to review signatures “beginning with the presumption that the voter’s signature is his or her genuine, valid signature.” Benson refused to revise her proposal to keep the online application.
“Elected officials have a duty to be as open and transparent as possible,” said Carra, R-Three Rivers. “Lawmakers should never trade their silence for information about corruption that benefits the politically connected in their communities. Our job is to represent all the voices of our districts.”
“I came to Lansing to limit burdensome government requirements,” Carra said. “I can’t stand by idly while health system workers in our community are being pulled away from administering care to fulfill demanding state requirements.”