Politics

Michigan sec of state says election officials most worried about ‘violence and disruption on Election Day’

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Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said Sunday that election officials she has spoken with in her state and elsewhere are concerned about “violence and disruption” at the polls on Election Day.

During an appearance on “Face the Nation,” Benson was asked by CBS News’ Mark Strassmann what secretaries of state and election officials nationwide are “most worried about” as the midterms approach.

“Violence and disruption on election day, first and foremost, and in the days surrounding the election,” Benson answered. “And secondly, there’s a concern about the ongoing spread of misinformation, which of course, fuels the potential for additional threats, harassment and even violence on Election Day.”

Benson said election officials in Michigan are working around the clock to ensure the midterm elections are free and fair.

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson speaks during a press conference at Callidac Place on Monday, Nov. 2, 2020 in Detroit, MI.
(Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

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“All voters should know that election officials on both sides of the aisle are working night and day to ensure we’re collaborating with law enforcement and every other potential partner to protect the sanctity of the polling place and protect the integrity of our democracy,” she continued. 

“And it’s also important to note that we’ve been doing this work now for close to two years or over two years, and we’ve been succeeding really at every turn,” she said. “Democracy prevailed in 2020. There have been in Michigan and in other states, no significant attempts, apart from the tragedy in our Capitol on January 6, to really see disruption of the polling places on Election Day itself. 

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson speaks at a press conference while election workers prepare to secure ballots at Ford Field on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020 in Detroit, MI.

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson speaks at a press conference while election workers prepare to secure ballots at Ford Field on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020 in Detroit, MI.
(Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

“So we are, in many ways, even more prepared this year than ever before – even where we were in 2020 – to ensure that we are eliminating, mitigating, or certainly protecting the system against any potential disruptions. And also speaking clearly to folks who are thinking about interfering with our elections, that the law is clear and we will seek accountability and consequences for anyone who tries to interfere with a citizen’s right to vote and democracy itself.”

A "Vote Here" sign along the road in Hunterdon County, New Jersey, U.S., on Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2021.

A “Vote Here” sign along the road in Hunterdon County, New Jersey, U.S., on Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2021.
(Mark Kauzlarich/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Benson’s comments follow a recent report by Bloomberg that interviewed officials in 12 states across the country who said they’ve seen an increase in online suspicion about the electoral process.

A survey of local election workers by the Brennan Center for Justice conducted in March found that one in six election officials have experienced threats because of their job, and 77% said threats against election officials have increased in recent years.