By Tiffany Meier, Joshua Philipp and Naveen Athrappully
Michigan state Sen. Ruth Johnson, a Republican, has accused Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, a Democrat, of incompetence, and raised concerns about election integrity in the state.
In an interview with Newsmakers, a collaboration between The Epoch Times and NTD, Johnson said she chairs the state Senate Election Committee and revealed that Benson doesn’t attend the committee meetings and has used “three different excuses” to cover for her absence.
The first time, Benson used the excuse of being busy. The second time, it was COVID-19; and the third time, Benson failed to turn up at the meeting claiming that she did not want to trigger any civil unrest, which Johnson said “we’ve never had.”
“She did, in the last election, send out 7.7 million absentee ballot requests, of which over 800,000 were to nonqualified voters. That’s a problem,” Johnson said.
“They were completely filled out. That’s never been done by the secretary of state before. It’s always been our local clerks. We have 1,525 clerks, and they’ve been named some of the best in the nation for conducting elections. But our Secretary of State took that over.”
For the elections in Michigan, 103.7 percent of the eligible electorate are registered to vote.
“That’s a problem,” Johnson said. “You don’t have to be a mathematician to know that’s just wrong.”
Michigan is currently governed by Democrat Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who wears “two part-time hats,” according to Johnson. Whitmer is the vice chair of the Democratic National Committee and has characterized Republicans as “bad” across the country.
“Then she comes home and she puts on a hat and says ‘I’m bipartisan.’ She has spent 27 times more money to run for governor than Tudor Dixon, the Republican candidate. … The Democrats are bringing in money like I’ve never seen before—27 times. Usually, you’re talking about 27 percent. So, there is a problem.”
The Epoch Times has contacted the Michigan Department for State for comment.
Election Manual Lawsuit
Last week, Republicans won a lawsuit against Benson, who had issued an updated election manual that sought to impose new restrictions on poll challengers and observers without submitting the change through the correct rulemaking process.
The court ruled that the manual must either be removed or amended to ensure compliance with federal and state laws.
In a statement, Ronna McDaniel, chairwoman of the Republican National Committee (RNC), called the court decision a victory for the rule of law, according to Fox News. The RNC is a party to the case.
“Jocelyn Benson not only disregarded Michigan election law in issuing this guidance. She also violated the rights of political parties and poll challengers to fully ensure transparency and promote confidence that Michigan elections are run fairly and lawfully,” McDaniel said.
Johnson is one of three former Michigan secretaries of state who oppose Proposition 2, a state ballot proposal that would legalize private funding of elections, do away with mandatory photo identification for in-person voters, and require absentee ballot drop boxes in every community.