LANSING, Mich. — After Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson announced on Tuesday that her department will be mailing absentee ballot applications to all of Michigan’s 7.7 million registered voters for the August and November elections, Sen. Ruth Johnson, R-Holly, issued the following statement:
“I supported secure, no-reason absentee voting as secretary of state, and I think absentee voting can be a really good option for people — especially with the coronavirus pandemic. Michigan voters can already request and complete an application, receive an absentee ballot, and mail in their absentee ballot — all without ever leaving their homes.
“I do question how and why this specific mailing was done right now. Local clerks are the ones who have always handled these requests, not the secretary of state. Like Gov. Whitmer, Secretary Benson seems to be taking unilateral actions with no input and questionable motives — and that is very troubling.
“The secretary mailing an application to every voter is an unnecessary expense that will cost millions of dollars. Where is that money coming from? I assume it will be from coronavirus funds the state received. That money should be going to get personal protective equipment for health care workers and more tests for our state, not to do a big mailing promoting the secretary of state for something that usually comes from local clerks. It seems political to me.
“There are also integrity concerns with these mailings. In May, we found that a smaller mailing similar to this one included people who were dead, had moved out of the state, or were under the legal voting age. It increases opportunities for fraud when you send a bunch of applications with prepaid return postage to people who are dead, moved, don’t exist or aren’t qualified to vote.”