Michigan, Jocelyn Benson, Whitmer Dana Nessel Jocelyn Benson discussed on Alyssa Milano: Sorry Not Sorry
In two thousand eighteen Jocelyn Benson was elected as secretary of state in Michigan. It was part of a historic sweep. Where women were also elected to the governorship and to the Attorney General's office then the corona virus hit and Donald Trump went on the warpath personally attacking governor. Whitmer as she fought to get her citizens access to needed medical equipment. Well now he's also attack. Jocelyn calling her a rogue secretary of state for her plan to make sure all Michigan voters can apply to get an absentee ballot. This fall keeping them safe from the virus and ensuring everyone has a chance to vote. Jocelyn joined us to talk about the monumental importance of voting rights in the age of trump and the corona virus. This year we saw the. You're the woman. Two Point Gretchen. Whitmer Dana Nessel Jocelyn Benson Debbie Stamina and the list goes secretary of state of the Great State of Michigan. Four four my duties to invest in my abilities regard. Help me guys. The Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson says. She sees nothing wrong with paper ballots. Secretary of state says the voter absentee ballot. Applications are great way for voters to vote in coming elections without risking their. How ahead of a planned visit to Michigan Tomorrow? President trump is targeting the leaders of the state on twitter president trump on Wednesday threatened to withhold federal funding to Michigan after the state announced that all of the states registered. Voters would receive applications for absentee ballots in the mail this year. Benton Secretary of State of Michigan on fighting every day to ensure that every voice is heard and every vote is counted. Sorry not sorry first of all. Thank you so much for doing this. I really really appreciate it. It's interesting because you have a job that I don't think a lot of people fully grasp what you do as secretary of State in Michigan. You're responsible for overseeing elections. But can you give my listeners? Really an overview of what that entails. And just broadly what? The job secretaryastate position in most states overseas democracy and that means everything from money in politics and regulating promoting disclosure of bat to the actual act of casting a ballot and making sure those votes are counted accurately protecting the security of the process. Anything that goes into ensuring that our democracy runs well flows lows through each state secretary of State and from your perspective. What is the biggest threat to our democracy? And you can do that. Broadly but you can also do that in Michigan. Well Yeah I always say that. A healthy democracy requires an engaged. An informed electorate and so in that way biggest threat is disengaged and misinformed electorate. I think you need both. You need everyone. Voting particular especially systems of underrepresented communities whose voices has historically been at the table and decisions. That are made them. But you also need to to be informed about all the aspects of an issue that they can make independent decisions about what's best for them. We're having our communities so to me really. You need people. Running the system secretaries of state and we need elected representatives who all kind of flow into that any neighbouring and encourage engagement and Commission. Of course the media as well but if you poke short on either of those two metrics those two pieces than democracy is threatened and. I think that's some of what we are seeing today where you have in some cases. Low turnout or disengagement or feeling of apathy or. My vote doesn't matter. My voice doesn't matter which is the exact opposite of which real and democracy or people not having access to accurate information about the decisions that are being made note decision makers that are making them can hold them accountable. We here and we've heard a lot about Michigan this cycle. So what makes it so important in this election besides the Electoral College? And how did it become a battleground? These chicken is a collection of voters that really reflects the entire country in many ways certainly in the Midwest and you've got a very diverse population we've got the largest concentrations for example Arab American voters in the country. We've got strong urban areas with unique stories and history like Detroit and Flint and high levels of communities of color growing Tino population and then a lot of the state is very rural. And so the racial demographics. The economic demographics -cation you have also right next to Detroit. One of the wealthiest per capita community in the country and they got in some ways integregation and many of the problems that afflict and having the country historically are reflected in Michigan. There's a great thing I saw when I personally hear when Michigan accuses the whole country gets a cold that in some ways is a bellwether state. Her a lot of different things is that because of the people because of history because of the community that can indicate how rest of the country like feeling going and attention on our state certainly over the past ten years when it comes to presidential elections. Really underscored that. Well let's talk about November. I want a really sort of dive into what the plan is. Now that the pandemic changed everything. Because I feel like we're going to all be looking to you and to Michigan to sort of figure this out because you you are a battleground state. So what are the plans? How do we ensure that people are going to be able to vote confident that you really? In this age moment of uncertainty. There are two things that are absolutely certain. Bertha guards are elections in Michigan and many other states won the election. In November will happen. It will happen on time will happen on schedule and to citizens in Michigan and many other states will have a right to participate in that election from their home. Coming to you from the Robertson League voting booth here my dining room table. This is Dave. He's at home in Seattle Washington. Dave's done a lot of reporting on. What he says is a simple solution to how America can vote during the pandemic Chins of millions of people in America by mail now every election and it's fine. Washington is one of the few states that runs its entire election through the mail voting by got to walk into the two thousand. We everyone who done food by mail. Basically works by taking two important elements of voting verifying your identity and filling out the ballot and moving them from a polling place to your home or the ballot gets mailed a weeks before the election. They will not have to choose between her health and right to vote which is critical in ensuring back at this moment of historical election. Possibly the most significant election in our lifetime that every citizen knows exactly how to vote and doesn't worry that in casting they're risking their health so armee work really over the next five and a half months or how many weeks are left until November election. Which is coming out of quite quickly is to make sure that every citizen feels confident in the process knows exactly how to ensure their ballots. Catchy counting it there heard and if they are engaged if not even more so than ever before in using the power vote. To hold elected officials accountable. You said before and I agree with you that I feel like a lot of at least the younger generations feel that their voice and their vote does not make a difference. And it's always been hard to get out certain votes. How are we going to do this when there is a pandemic? I know it's going to happen. I know it has to happen. I know it's going to happen on time. I just can't wrap my head around unless you know by some miracle. Mcconnell wakes up and decides you know what everybody should be allowed to vote from home. That's what we're GonNa do this election cycle Howard secretaries of state. Who are leading the way. Alex Padilla in California. Were to implement program where every voter in the state will get balancing automatically. You've got that same. That's been in place for many years in Oregon and Washington champions Guy Secretaries it's actually both sides of the aisle because one of the other really important aspect of this officers. We administered democracy. We make sure everybody is hurt. It's not a heart condition and oftentimes uses that in the past. But that said. I think secretaries of state that either working with my colleagues around the country are working overtime in the vast majority of states to ensure every citizen has that preserved right by mail in Michigan. We've got this unique story. Because in two thousand eighteen voters voted overwhelmingly to amend our constitution to create a right to vote by mail as well as many other things like automatic voter registration and the ability to register to vote on election day. So really what it comes down to in my view is making sure. One voting is a very personal thing so making sure citizens essentially have choices.