Jocelyn Benson and Frank LaRose on Voter Turnout and Access in Ohio and Michigan

October 9, 2020 0:39:25
Kaltura Video

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson and Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose discuss voting rights and voter access. Jenna Bednar, Professor of Political Science and Public Policy, moderates. October 2020.

Transcript:

>> JENNA:  GOOD AFTERNOON.

GOOD AFTERNOON.

I'M JENNA BEDNA AND ON BEHALF OF DEAN MICHAEL BARR, WHO IS WATCHING TODAY IT IS A GREAT PLEASURE TO WELCOME YOU ALL TO THIS POLICY TALKS OF THIS EVENT WITH THE SECRETARY OF STATE JOCELYN BENSON OF MICHIGAN AND FRANK L AROSE AND I'LL BE TALKING TO THEM TODAY ABOUT A CRITICALLY IMPORTANT ONGOING TOP KICK ‑‑ ELECTIONS IN OHIO AND MICHIGAN.

THIS EVENT IS PART OF THE EVENTS ACROSS DIFFERENT SERIES AT THE FORD SCHOOL WHERE WE TRY TO HIGHLIGHT FOR OUR STUDENTS AND COMMUNITY THE KINDS OF DISCOURSE NECESSARY FOR CREATING CONSTRUCTIVE POLICY ACROSS VARIOUS SPHERES OF DIFFERENCE.

I WOULD LIKE TO ALSO THANK THE CENTER FOR URBAN POLICY FOR CO‑SPONSORING THIS EVENT TODAY AND FOR OUR PARTNERSHIP WITH DETROIT PUBLIC TELEVISION.

BEFORE WE DIVE INTO THE DISCUSSION I WOULD LIKE TO BRIEFLY INTRODUCE SECRETARIES BENSON AND LAROSE.

SO JOCELYN BENSON IS MICHIGAN'S 43RD SECRETARY OF STATE.

SHE'S THE AUTHOR OF "SECRETARIES OF STATE: GUARDIANS OF THE DEMOCRATIC PROCESS" THE FIRST MAJOR BOOK ON THE ROLE OF THE SECRETARY OF STATE IN ENFORCING ELECTION AND CAMPAIGN FINANCE LAWS.

PRIOR TO BEING ELECTED SECRETARY OF STATE IN 2018, BENSON WAS DEAN OF WAYNE STATE UNIVERSITY LAW SCHOOL AND ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR OF THE DAMIAN KEETE CENTER.

OF AND FRANK LAROSE IS ALSO PRIOR SECRETARY OF STATE AND PRIOR TO BEING ELECTED HE SERVED TWO TERMS IN THE STATE SENATE.

HE IS A DECORATED VETERAN AND A FORMER ARMY SPECIAL FORCES GREEN BERET.

HE EARNED A BRONZE STAR FOR HIS SERVICE IN IRAQ.

AND FINALLY, A COUPLE OF QUICK NOTES ABOUT THE FORMAT.

SO, UNFORTUNATELY, FOR FAMILY REASONS, SECRETARY BENSON AND FRANK LAROSE WILL NEED TO LEAVE TODAY AT 3:45, SO WE'RE GOING TO CLOSE THE DISCUSSION A BIT EARLY.

RATHER THAN WAITING UNTIL THE END TO TAKE AUDIENCE QUESTIONS I'M GOING TO TRY TO WEAVE THEM IN THROUGHOUT THE DISCUSSION.

SO WE GOT A COUPLE OF QUESTIONS IN ADVANCE, BUT YOU CAN ALSO SUBMIT YOUR QUESTIONS IN THE LIVE CHAT IN YOU'RE WATCHING ON YOUTUBE OR CAN YOU TWEET YOUR QUESTIONS TO HASHTAGPOLICYTALKS.

THERE IS A GREAT TEAM WORKING BACKSTAGE KEEPING AN EYE ON YOUR QUESTIONS FOR ME.

SO WELCOME, SECRETARY BENSON AND SECRETARY LAROSE.

THANK SO YOU MUCH FOR BEING HERE TODAY FOR THIS IMPORTANT CONVERSATION.

>> JOCELYN: THANKS FOR HAVING US.

>> FRANK: GLAD TO BE A PART OF IT.

>> JENNA: WE CAN NO LONGER TALK ABOUT ELECTION DAY BUT IT'S IN AN ELECTION SEASON.

WE'RE IN THE MID Z OF IT.

EVERYWHERE I TURN I HEAR SO MUCH WORRY.

PEOPLE ARE WORRIED ABOUT THE OUTCOME, OF COURSE, BUT ALSO ABOUT THE PROCESS.

THEY WORRY THAT THEIR MAILED BALLOTS WILL BE LOST OR ARRIVE TOO LATE OR IF THEY'RE VOTING IN PERSON THAT THEY'LL CATCH COVID OR THAT THE LINES WILL BE TOO LONG OR, MOST FRIGHTINGLY, THAT PEOPLE BEARING ARMS NEAR THE POLLING PLACES WILL SCARE AWAY THOSE WHO TRY TO VOTE IN PERSON.

SO I WOULD LIKE TO BEGIN BY TALKING ABOUT SOME OF THESE WORRIES AND HOW YOU'RE MANAGING THEM.

YOU BOTH HAVE ALREADY RUN AN ELECTION DURING COVID AND THAT EXPERIENCE WITH THE PRIMARY HAS, NO DOUBT, INFORMED WHAT YOU'RE DOING NOW.

SO LET'S FIRST TALK ABOUT MAILED BALLOTS.

GIVE THAN PROCESSING MAILED BALLOTS TAKES TIME, I'VE HEARD FROM MANY THAT THEY FEAR A REPRISE OF BUSH V GORE; THAT IS, A DELAY IN DECLARING A VICTOR IN THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION WILL CALL INTO QUESTION THE LEGITIMACY OF THE ELECTION.

DO YOU HAVE AN ESTIMATE OF HOW LONG IT WILL TAKE TO COUNT THE BALLOTS AND BE ABLE TO CERTIFY ELECTION RESULTS?  AND DO YOU HAVE THE TIME AND THE RESOURCES THAT YOU NEED?  AND SECRETARY BENSON, YOU'VE BEEN VOCAL ABOUT TALKING ABOUT THE TIME AND WHAT YOU NEED, SO MAYBE YOU COULD START FIRST.

>> JOCELYN: SURE.

AND THANK YOU FOR HOSTING THIS TOPIC OF CONVERSATION AND WE'VE HAD VOTE BY MAIL, EXPANDED VOTE BY MAIL FOR MANY YEARS AND, AS A RESULT, THEY'VE REALLY EXPANDED AND ALLOTTED A LOT OF TIME FOR OUR CLERKS TO PROCESS BALLOTS.

I'LL LET HIM GO THROUGH THAT.

BUT, YOU KNOW, IN THE BEGINNING OF THIS YEAR, AS WE WORKED AND PLANNED FOR ‑‑ THIS IS ACTUALLY OUR FOURTH ELECTION HERE IN MICHIGAN THAT WE'VE HAD THIS YEAR IN NOVEMBER.

IT WILL BE OUR FOURTH.

YOU'RE RIGHT.

WE'VE HONED OUR PROCESS AND PILOTED DIFFERENT THINGS THROUGHOUT.

TO ANSWER YOUR OTHER QUESTION, YES, WE ARE VERY READY FOR NOVEMBER.

WE HAVE PREPARED AND DOUBLED AND IN SOME CASES TRIPLED MACHINE FOR TABULATORS AND HIGH‑SPEED ENVELOPES AND WE'VE DONE WHAT WE NEED TO ACCOMPLISH OUR GOALS FOR ELECTION DAY.

SO I'M VERY OPTIMISTIC.

I THINK IT'S IMPORTANT THAT, EVEN IN THIS GREAT TIME OF UNCERTAINTY WHERE PEOPLE ARE ANXIOUS AND FEARFUL ABOUT SO MANY THINGS THAT WE LET THEM KNOW THAT THEY DON'T HAVE TO BE AFRAID OF WHETHER THEIR VOTE'S GOING TO COUNT.

IT IS.

AS WE BEGIN TO VOTE THOSE BALLOTS IN MICHIGAN WE CAN'T BEGIN TO COUNT BALLOTS UNTIL 7:00 A.M. ON ELECTION DAY.

WE ANTICIPATE THAT 70% OF THOSE VOTE THING FALL WILL VOTE EARLIER ABSENTEE THAT.  MEANS THAT BALLOTS WILL NOT BE VOTED IN PRECINCTS AS WE GO THROUGH THE DAY.

THEY WILL BE TABULATED IN BULK IN MASS AT 7:00 A.M. ON ELECTION DAY ITSELF.

THAT WILL TAKE TIME.

WE'LL HAVE 3, 3 1/2 MILLION BALLOTS TO GET THROUGH ACROSS THE STATE.

AND AS WE'VE INCREASED THOSE BALLOTS IT IS NOT POSSIBLE FOR ANYONE IN ANY STATE TO GO THROUGH THAT MANY BALLOTS SECURELY AND METHODICALLY AND SAFELY IN 24 HOURS.

WE HAVE SAID CAN YOU EXPECT RESULTS IN MICHIGAN OR A FULL COUNT TO BE COMPLETED BY FRIDAY AT THE LATEST, HOPEFULLY SOONER.

IN REGARDS TO THE CERTIFICATION QUESTION YOU ASK, WE HAVE A TWO‑WEEK CERTIFICATION PERIOD, WHICH HAS ALWAYS BEEN THE CASE.

AND AT THAT POINT, THE END OF THAT CERTIFICATION PERIOD IS WHEN OUR CLERKS WILL FINALIZE AND CERTIFY THE FULL RESULTS.

>> JENNA: OKAY.

THANK YOU.

SO FRIDAY CERTIFICATION AND CERTIFICATION TWO WEEKS LATER.

SECRETARY LAROSE?

>> FRANK: SO IN OHIO WE'VE HAD VOTING FOR YEARS.

IT'S BEEN EMBRACED BY BOTH REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRATS AND FOR A GOOD CAUSE IT IS A CONVENIENT AND SECURE WAY TO CAST A BALLOT.

WE ALSO KNOW WE'LL SEE A HIGHER VOLUME THAN WE'VE EVER SEEN.

I'VE REPORTED RECENTLY WE'VE HAD 1.2 BILLION BALLOT REQUESTS.

I KNOW JOCELYN IS SMILING BECAUSE MICHIGAN IS CURRENTLY BEATING US, BUT WE'LL OVERTAKE IT.

WE'VE HAD 1.2 BILLION AND THE SECOND WEEK IN OCTOBER WE'VE ALREADY OVER $2 MILLION AND HAVE DOUBLED THAT NUMBER.

WHAT THAT TELLS US IS THAT OHIOANS WANT TO VOTE THIS WAY AND THEY TRUST IT.

AND WE CAN HANDLE A HIGH PERCENTAGE OF BALLOTS.

AND THE BOARD OF ELECTIONS ARE EQUIPPED FOR THE HIGH VOLUME BY MAIL.

YOU KNOW WHAT?  THERE ARE SOME TIMES THAT ERRORS GET MADE.

WE'RE DEALING WITH AN ISSUE NOW IN THE COLUMBUS AREA WHERE AN UNACCEPTABLE MISTAKE WAS MADE BY THE COUNTY BOARD OF ELECTIONS.

THERE WAS A NUMBER OF VOTERS THAT RECEIVED THE WRONG BALLOT.

THEY'RE IN THE PROCESS OF REMEDYING THAT AND VOTERS WHO RECEIVED THE WRONG ONES.

THOSE KINDS OF THINGS HAVE HAPPENED.

CERTAINLY, THAT SHOULD NOT DECREASE THE TRUST THAT PEOPLE HAVE IN THIS PROCESS BECAUSE IT REALLY IS A GOOD WAY TO CAST YOUR BALLOT.

WE KNOW THAT MILLIONS OF OHIOANS WILL VOTED THIS WAY.

NOW, AS IT RELATES TO ELECTION REPORTING THIS IS AN OPPORTUNITY FOR CIVICS QUESTIONS IN MANY WAYS.

I GET THE QUESTION: WILL WE HAVE FINAL RESULTS ON ELECTION NIGHT?  THE HONEST ANSWER IS WE NEVER HAVE FINAL ELECTION RESULTS ANDED ON ELECTION NIGHT WE REPORT THE UNOFFICIAL RESULTS.

NORMALLY IN THE PAST THAT THAT HAS BEEN CONCLUSIVE ENOUGH THAT PEOPLE CAN MAKE A PREDICTION ABOUT WHAT THE FINAL TABULATION WILL BE.

AND ONE OF THE REASONS IS THAT BECAUSE IN OHIO OUR BALLOTS CAN CONTINUE ARRIVING AT BOARDS OF ELECTIONS FOR 10 DAYS.

AS LONG AS IT'S POSTMARKED BY NOVEMBER THE 2ND THE BOARD WILL RECEIVE IT 10 DAYS LATER.

IT WILL COUNT PART OF THAT OFFICIAL TALLY WE HAVE CERTIFIED THREE WEEKS AFTER THE ELECTION IN OHIO.

1994, HERE IS SOMETHING WE'RE DOING IN ORDER TO BE FULLY TRANSPARENT ON THIS.

THIS IS SOMETHING THAT OTHER STATES SHOULD LOOK AT AS WELL.

THIS IS MAKING SURE THAT PEOPLE ARE ARMED WITH THE FULL SET OF DATA ON ELECTION NIGHT AND IT COULD BY THE WAY GO INTO WEDNESDAY MORNING FOR US.

WE'RE ABLE TO PROCESS ABSENTEE BALLOTS AND TODAY AS WE SPEAK, BOARD OF ELECTIONS ARE RECEIVING ABSENTEE BALLOTS.

THEY'RE PROOFING THE IDENTIFICATION INFORMATION MAKING SURE THAT NAME AND ADDRESS AND DATE OF BIRTH AND ALL OF THAT ALL MATCH UP, MAKE SURE THAT THE LAST FOUR OF THEIR SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER OR OTHER IDENTIFICATION NUMBER MATCHES, CHECK THE SIGNATURE AGAINST THE SIGNATURE ON FILE.

SO ALL OF THESE THINGS ARE DONE IN REAL‑TIME HERE IN OHIO SO THAT, ON ELECTION NIGHT AT 7:30, WE HIT THE TABULATE BUTTON, IF YOU WILL, ONCE THE POLLS CLOSED.

AND IN EVERY 88 OF OUR COMPETENCY ALMOST INVARIABLY THE FIRST OF THOSE COUNTED ARE ABSENTEE BALLOTS AND THEY'RE IN ALREADY.

ON ELECTION NIGHT WE'LL COUNT ALL OF THE ABSENTEE BALLOTS AND THE EARLY VOTES.

AND WE HAD THE NUMBER IN OHIO.

HERE IS THE OTHER UNOFFICIAL NUMBER.

WE ARE GOING TO REPORT THE NUMBER OF OUTSTANDING BALLOTS.

IT IS A KNOWABLE NUMBER.

IT IS A NUMBER THAT THE BOARD OF ELECTIONS WILL TRACK BECAUSE IT'S NOT BEEN EVER REPORTED BEFORE.

AND SPECIFICALLY THEY KEEP A TALLY OF HOW MANY BALLOTS GO OUT AND FOR WHOM AND HOW MANY BALLOTS COME BACK.

AND THE NUMBER IS THE DIFFERENCE OF THE NUMBER OF OUTSTANDING BALLOTS.

AND THIS WILL BE ELECTION NIGHT.

HERE IS WHY THIS MATTERS ‑‑ IMAGINE THAT YOUR CANDIDATE IS AHEAD BY A MILLION VOTES AND THERE ARE 2,000 OUTSTANDING ABSENTEE BALLOTS.

CAN YOU SAY A HYPOTHETICAL WE KNOW WHO IS GOING TO WIN THAT ONE.

ON THE FLIP SIDE IF YOUR CANDIDATE IS AHEAD BY 100,000 BOATS AND THERE ARE YET OUTSTANDING BALLOTS SIMPLY, AS A MATTER OF MATHEMATICS, YOU CAN'T CALL THAT RACE YET.

IT WOULD BE FUNNY TO COUNT THOSE THAT WAY AND NO STATE WILL REPORT FINAL RESULTS ON ELECTION NIGHT.

THAT IS JUST NOT THE WAY ELECTIONS ADMINISTRATION WORKS.

>> JENNA: THAT IS VERY INTERESTING.

SECRETARY BENSON, IS MICHIGAN ABLE TO COUNT THE NUMBER OF BALLOTS THAT HAVE BEEN COUNTED?

>> JOCELYN:  IT IS.

AND OVER 600,000 MICHIGANIANS HAVE VOTED ALREADY AND THAT IS EXTRAORDINARY.

AND WE EXPECT TO CROSS A MILLION NEXT WEEK.

SO THAT IS VERY EXCITING.

IT UNDERSCORES THE INCREDIBLE AMOUNT OF ENTHUSIASM THAT VOTERS HAVE FOR THE ELECTION THIS YEAR.

>> JENNA: YEAH, ABSOLUTELY.

SO THERE IS SO MUCH FOCUS ON VOTING BY MAIL AND, AT TIMES, EVEN WORRYING ABOUT THE TENACITY OF THE POST OFFICE THAT, PERHAPS, WE HAVEN'T PAID SUFFICIENT ATTENTION TO IN‑PERSON VOTING IN A PANDEMIC.

AND AS ONE POLITICAL SCIENTIST PUT IT, IN SOME OF OUR MINDS THE NIGHTMARE SCENARIO ISN'T ABOUT VOTING BY MAIL, IT'S A MELTDOWN AT THE POLLING PLACES.

SO ARE WE READY FOR IN‑PERSON VOTING DURING THIS PANDEMIC?  AND WHAT HAS YOUR TEAM DONE ABOUT THE CONCERNS THAT WE'VE BEEN HEARING?  EITHER ABOUT COVID, CONTAGION, OR LONG VOTING LINES, OR ABOUT VOTER INTIMIDATION?

>> JOCELYN:  SO, IN MICHIGAN, WE DO HAVE OPTIONS TO VOTE THIS YEAR.

OF COURSE, CAN YOU VOTE EARLY BY MAIL, CAN YOU VOTE IN‑PERSON EARLY AT YOUR LOCAL CLERK'S OFFICE BETWEEN NOW AND ELECTION ‑‑ THE DAY BEFORE ELECTION DAY.

AND CAN YOU VOTE AT THE PRECINCTS, AT YOUR LOCAL PRECINCTS ON ELECTION DAY YOURSELF.

AND ONE OF THE BENEFITS NOW OF THIS BEING THE FOURTH ELECTION THAT WE'VE RUN RIGHT NOW IN THE MIDST OF THE PANDEMIC IS THAT WE'VE BEEN ABLE TO, IN EACH ONE, REALLY IMPROVE UPON AND AFFECT THE IN‑PERSON OPTION TO ENSURE EVERYONE'S HEALTH, VOTING, AND SAFETY SECURITY.

NUMBER ONE, ALL ELECTION WORKERS HAVE PPE, MASKS, GLOVES, SNEEZE GUARDS.

POLLING PLACES ARE SET UP WITH SOCIAL DISTANCING INTACT TO MAKE SURE THAT NO ONE'S HEALTH IS AT RISK AND THAT OUR CDC GUIDELINES ARE FOLLOWED IN EVERY PRECINCT THAT.  IS NOT UNIQUE TO MICHIGAN.

I KNOW THAT FRANK IS DOING THE SAME THING IN OHIO AND ANHEISER‑BUSCH HAS JUST DELIVERED HAND SANITIZER TO THE SECRETARY OF STATE.

SO WE'VE GOT THE SANITIZATION OF OUR PRECINCTS INTACT.

THE REASON I MENTIONED THOSE OPTIONS WE'RE ON TRACK TO HAVE MORE CITIZENS VOTE IN MICHIGAN'S ELECTION THIS NOVEMBER THAN EVER BEFORE IN ANY ELECTION IN STATE'S HISTORY.

BY THE WAY, FRANK, WE'LL WIN OUR BET.

>> FRANK: GET TO THAT IN A MINUTE.

 

>> JOCELYN:  AND THE QUESTION.  AND THE QUESTION IS WE EXPECT A‑THIRD OF PEOPLE TURNING OUT AT POLLS ON ELECTION DAY.

AND WE WILL HAVE MINIMAL CROWDING, MINIMAL LINES IF ANY AT ALL.

IN FACT, WE HAVE NOT HAD ANY LINES AT PRECINCTS THIS YEAR BECAUSE WE CAN ENSURE THAT PEOPLE TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THESE OTHER OPTIONS AS WELL AND ONLY VOTE IN PERSON ON ELECTION DAY IF THE VOTERS CHOOSE THAT IF THEY CHOOSE TO DO THAT, BUT ONLY 1% OF OUR VOTERS VOTE IN‑PERSON ON ELECTION DAY.

AND WE HAVE THAT INFRASTRUCTURE.

THE THIRD THING THAT YOU MENTIONED IS THE SAFETY, THE SAFETY OF OUR WORKERS.

I'M ARE FORTUNATE TO HAVE A GREAT ATTORNEY GENERAL IN MICHIGAN.

WE'RE BASICALLY JOINED AT THE HIP THE NEXT WEEK AND THE WEEKS AHEAD AS WE WORK TO DEVELOP SAFETY PROTOCOLS AND WORKING WITH LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT AS WELL.

WE HAVE TO STRIKE A NUMBER OF BALANCES THERE.

WE HAVE TO ENSURE TRANSPARENCY OF OUR POLLING PLACES BECAUSE WE WANT PEOPLE TO HAVE FAITH IN THE PROCESS AND BE ABLE TO OBSERVE AS POLL‑WATCHERS ALWAYS HAVE BUT OBSERVE FROM A DESIGNATED SPOT IN THE PRECINCT, REMOVE FROM AND NOT TALKING TO VOTERS, WEARING MASKS AND ALSO ABIDING BY THE HEALTH PROTOCOLS THAT THEY'VE PUT IN PLACE AND, ON TOP OF THAT, DRAWING A VERY DIRECT LINE BETWEEN OBSERVATION AND DISRUPTION.

AND IF ANYONE CROSSES THAT LINE AND BECOMES DISRUPTIVE, THEY WILL BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE AND CAN GO INTO MORE DETAILS.

THAT'S THE BASIC ESSENCE OF IT.

AND NO VOTER SHOULD FEAR THEIR HEALTH OR SAFETY IF THEY DO CHOOSE TO VOTE IN‑PERSON ON ELECTION DAY IN MICHIGAN.

>> FRANK: A COUPLE OF THINGS ON THIS ‑‑ WE'VE REALLY BEEN WORKING TO ENCOURAGE ABSENTEE AND CLEAR GUIDELINES.

AND WE SENT OUT THIS ENVELOPE A COUPLE OF WEEKS AGO WHICH IS AN ABSENTEE REQUEST FORM TO EVERY VOTER IN THE STATE.

I'VE BEEN REALLY HAPPY TO SEE A LARGE AND ENTHUSIASTIC TURNOUT THIS WEEK.

IN FACT I AM ENTHUSIASTIC THAT WE WILL HAVE EARLY VOTING THIS WEEK AS WELL.

IN SOME CASES WE HAVE SEEN LINES THE FIRST AND SECOND DAY OF EARLY VOTING.

THAT IS NOT BECAUSE THERE IS A NEED TO BE; THAT IS BECAUSE THEY NEED ENTHUSIASM.

PEOPLE CAN HAVE OTHER DAYS TO DO THAT BUT WE'RE ENTHUSIASTIC ABOUT THAT AND WE SEE A HIGH NUMBER OF ABSENTEE AND VOTES AND WHAT THAT AGAIN FACILITATES IS HAVING A SMOOTH ELECTION DAY.

IN OHIO WE HAVE POLLING LOCATIONS THAT HAVE TO BE STAFFED BY 37,000 ELECTION DAY VOLUNTEERS.

SO ONE OF OUR MAIN THRUSTS HAVE BEEN RECRUITING NOT ONLY THOSE 37,000 IT TAKES TO OPEN THE POLLS.

BUT AN ADDITIONAL NUMBER WE HAVE A RESERVE AND WE NEED TO CALL THEM IN ON TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 3RD IN CASE THERE ARE PEOPLE THAT DON'T COME TO WORK, FOR EXAMPLE.

IN REGARDS TO THE HEALTH SCENARIO, I'VE BEEN CLEAR AND YOU'VE BEEN CLEAR ‑‑ IF YOU FEEL COMFORTABLE COMING TO THE GROCERY STORE, YOU SHOULD FEEL COMFORTABLE GOING TO THE POLLS.

AND MAYBE THIS IS MY CHECK‑LIST BUT I LIKE TO TAKE A COMPLEX BUNCH OF TASKS AND PUT IT INTO OUR CHECKLIST AND THIS OHIOVOTE.GOV WAS COORDINATED WITH THE STATE AND WHAT IT LAYS OUT ARE THE STANDARDS THAT WE HAVE TO PROTECT PUBLIC SAFETY.

IT IS THE THINGS THAT YOU WOULD EXPECTED ‑‑ IT IS MASKS, SHIELDS, IT IS HAVING ONE DOOR IN AND A DIFFERENT ONE OUT.

IT IS MAINTAINING SOCIAL DISTANCING BY SEPARATING THE MACHINES BY SIX FEET, IT IS WIPING DOWN COMMONLY TOUCHED SURFACES.

IT IS ALL OF THOSE THINGS.

BUT ALSO MAKING SURE THAT WE'VE HAVE THOSE FOR THE OFFICIALS TO HIRE MORE STAFF AND ALSO WE HAVE PURCHASED PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT.

WE HAD COMPANIES THAT STEPPED UP WITH DONATIONS.

WE HAD A MASK MANUFACTURER HERE IN OHIO THAT DOUGH FATED CLOSE TO A MILLION MASKS.

JUST LIKE IN OHIO WE'VE HAD ANHEISER‑BUSCH DONATE 3,000 GALLONS OF HAND SANITIZER, AND WE ARE GOING TO MAKE SURE THAT IT IS SAFE AND OHIO ALLOWS CREDENTIALED ELECTIONS OBSERVERS.

THOSE ARE INDIVIDUALS IN OHIO NOMINATED BY THEIR PARTY OR BY THEIR CANDIDATE.

THEY ARE CREDENTIALED.

THEY'RE NOT ALLOWED TO CARRY FIREARMS.

THEY'RE NOT ALLOWED TO WEAR UPA FORM OR NO OTHER TYPE OF PAIR IF A FAILA AND THEY ARE BASICALLY BE ALLOWED TO BE A FLY ON THE WALL AND TO OBSERVE THE THINGS GOING ON IN THAT POLLING LOCATION.

IF THEY SEE SOMETHING DON'T LIKE, THIS HE CAN BRING IT TO THE ATTENTION TO THE POLLING PERSON AND BRING IT TO THEIR PARTY.

IN NO CIRCUMSTANCES CAN THEY INTERFERE WITH THE WORKERS AND WHAT THEY'RE DOING.

IN OHIO IN ADDITION WE HAVE A 100‑FOOT BOUNDARY WHICH IS A BUFFER ZONE.

NO CAMPAIGNING CAN BE DONE WITHIN THAT 100‑FOOT BOUNDARY.

OF COURSE, THE FIRST AMENDMENT IS IN EFFECT.

AROUND THAT SIGN PEOPLE CAN SAND OUT FLYERS AND EXPRESS SUPPORT FOR THEIR CANDIDATE.

WHAT THEY CAN'T DO IN ANY CAPACITY IS: OBSTRUCT VOTERS OR IMPEDE VOTERS.

THE LAW IS VERY CLEAR ON THIS IN OHIO.

THIS IS WHY I HAD A CONFERENCE CALL EARLIER IN THE WEEK AND CLEARLY SET OUT EXPECTATIONS ON WHAT LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT WILL BE DOING TO ENFORCE THE LAW IN OHIO THERE.  WILL BE NO TOLERANCE FOR INTIMIDATION OR ANY KIND OF IMPEDING OF THE ELECTIONS PROCESS BY ANYBODY OUTSIDE OF A POLLING LOCATION OR INSIDE, FOR THAT MATTER.

>> JENNA: WELL, I THINK HEARING THAT WILL REASSURE PEOPLE.

IT'S JUST BECOME QUITE REAL HERE FOR US IN MICHIGAN WITH YESTERDAY'S NEWS.

AND SO I THINK THAT PEOPLE WILL BE HAPPY TO HEAR THAT BOTH OF YOU ARE ON TOP OF IT AND THINKING ABOUT, YOU KNOW, THE CONCERNS THAT THEY MIGHT HAVE ABOUT VOTER INTIMIDATION ON THE OUTSIDE OF ‑‑

>> FRANK: I SHOULD MENTION AND THIS HAS BEEN ON MY MIND SINCE I READ THIS AND I KNOW FOR JOCELYN AS WELL, BECAUSE I KNOW SHE IS VERY CLOSE TO THE GOVERNOR.

I'M ABSOLUTELY APPALLED BY WHAT WE'VE COME TO LEARN.

AND POLITICAL VIOLENCE IS INFORM, EVER ACCEPTABLE.

THAT KIND OF THING ‑‑ THANK GOD LAW ENFORCEMENT DID WHAT THEY'RE SUPPOSED TO DO AND HAS UNWOUND THE CONSPIRACY AND APPREHENDED THE BAD GUYS.

BECAUSE THE SAFETY OF OUR PUBLIC OFFICIALS SHOULD ABSOLUTELY NEVER BE IN JEOPARDY IN THAT WAY.

>> JENNA: THANK YOU.

MR. LAROSE YOU TALKED ABOUT TRUST AND I WOULD LIKE TO BRING THIS UP.

THIS BOILS DOWN TO TWO THINGS ‑‑ ON THE ONE HAPPENED, PEOPLE WORRY THAT THOSE WHO ARE NOT ALLOWED TO VOTE WILL TRY TO VOTE.

THEN THERE ARE CONCERNS THAT THOSE ARE WHO ARE ALLOWED TO VOTE WILL NOT BE ABLE TO, ALONG THE LINES OF WHAT WE'VE JUST BEEN TALKING ABOUT ‑‑ WHETHER IT'S BECAUSE OF SUPPRESSION OR FEAR.

WHAT PROBLEM MOST CONCERNS YOU?  AND WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO PREVENT IT?

>> JOES YAP LYNN: DO YOU WANT ME TO TAKE THAT?

>> FRANK: GO AHEAD, SECRETARY BENSON.

>> JOCELYN: I THINK WE ALWAYS SAY WE MAKE IT HARDER TO VOTE AND EASIER TO CHEAT AND THAT WE ENCAPSULE BOTH OF THOSE THINGS AND THAT IS WHAT THE ELECTION REQUIRES.

WE WORK EVERY DAY TO MAKE THIS SECURE.

YOU PUT SECURITY INTO ANYTHING AND ANYONE WHO WOULD SEEK TO UNDERPICKET LINE THAT OF THE VOTERS.

AND HE DAY AS ELECTED OFFICIALS AND I'VE OVERSEEN THREE ELECTIONS.

WE HAD THREE IN 2019.

WE'RE ABOUT TO HAVE A FOURTH IN NOVEMBER.

WE BUILD A PROCESS AMONG THREE VECTORS ‑‑ NUMBER ONE, THE MACHINES THEMSELVES, THAT WE HAVE ENOUGH BALLOTS, ENOUGH POLL WORKERS, THAT WE BUILT THE INFRASTRUCTURE, THE VOTER FILE IS SECURE TO ENSURE IT'S SUCCESSFUL.

WE HAVE OPTIONS IN MICHIGAN, AS I'VE MENTIONED.

YOU CAN VOTE FROM HOME, YOU CAN VOTE FROM THE CLERK'S OFFICE EARLY, CAN YOU VOTE ON ELECTION DAY AND MAKING SURE THAT ALL OF THOSE OPTIONS ARE KNOWN BY ALL VOTERS.

AND WE DID THIS WITH KROGER AND KROGER WAS ABLE TO EXPAND.

AND WE HAVE MADE SURE THAT THOSE EXIST AND THE SUCCESS OF THOSE TWO VECTORS DEPENDS ON THE THIRD ‑‑ WHICH IS MISINFORMATION.

WILL VOTERS KNOW OF ABOUT THE ELECTION?  OR THE SECURITY ASPECT OF UNDERMINING THE INFRASTRUCTURE THAT WE'VE BUILT?  SO WITH THAT IN MIND, I'M PROUD THAT WE'VE BUILT AN INFRASTRUCTURE TO ENSURE THAT EVERY VOTE CAST WILL BE TAKEN SECURELY AND IF THERE IS FRAUD IT HAPPENS RARELY BUT, IF IT DOES, WE CATCH IT, AND WE PROSECUTE IT.

AND WE BUILD A SYSTEM THAT VOTERS CAN GET INFORMATION ABOUT THROUGH MICHIGAN .GOV/VOTE AND MICHIGAN .GOV/SECURITY WHICH ENSURES THE PROTOCOLS FOR THIS SYSTEM.

BUT THE THIRD VECTOR ‑‑ VECTOR THAT VOTERS CAN ENSURE AND COUNT ON THEIR KNOWLEDGE THAT ACCURATE INFORMATION IS GIVEN TO THEM IN LIGHT OF THEM OF THE INACCURATE OR MISINFORMATION THAT OTHERS MAY TRY TO, YOU KNOW, IN ‑‑ INFILTRATE INTO THE SYSTEM.

>>> FRANK: I JUST WANT TO EXPAND ON WHAT SECRETARY BENSON SAID.

SHE IS RIGHT.

THE INFRASTRUCTURE AND THE PEOPLE, THE SECURITY INVOLVED, THE BIPARTISAN OVERSIGHT OF ELECTIONS THAT OCCURS AND I KNOW THAT IN OHIO AND MICHIGAN IT IS A BIG FOCUS.

AND THIS TO ME IS LEGITIMACY.

AND IS THE ONLY WAY WE ESTABLISH THAT LEGITIMACY IS THROUGH A FREE AND FAIR ELECTION THAT EVERYBODY KNOWS CAN BE TRUSTWORTHY AND HONEST THAT.  IS WHERE COMBATTING THAT DISINFORMATION COMES FROM.

AND PEOPLE WANT TO PUSH THE HYPEROBLE BUTTON OVER AND OVER AGAIN.

IT ELICITS A RESPONSE.

IT MAKES PEOPLE COME TO A RALLY OR DONATE MONEY.

AND WHATEVER IT IS.

AND I GUESS THIS IS EMOTIONAL.

AND CONGRESSMEN DO A DISSERVICE WHEN THEY CONSTANTLY PUSH THAT HYPEROBLE BUTTON.

AND WHEN PEOPLE SAY THAT THEY DON'T VOTE BECAUSE THERE IS WIDE‑SPREAD VOTER SUPPRESSION.

THAT IS NOT TRUE.

LET'S BE HONEST ‑‑ NEITHER OF THOSE ARE TOLERABLE.

AND YOU CAN'T TOLERATE THAT IN ANY FORM.

CAN YOU PUT POLICIES IN PLACE TO PREVENT EITHER OF THOSE UGLY THINGS FROM HAPPENING.

HERE IS THE RESULT ‑‑ WHEN POLITICIANS SAY THAT THIS PERSON HERE TO VOTE AND THIS IS NOT TRUE AND WHEN A POLITICIAN SAYS I'M GOING TO SIT IT OUT THAT IS WHAT BOTHERS ME AND I AM PUSHING BACK TO NOT GET DISINFORMATION AND BEING A TRUSTED SOURCE AMONG ELECTED OFFICIALS THAT YOUR VOTE WILL REALLY COUNT, IT IS EASY TO VOTE IN YOUR STATE AND YOU ARE PARTICIPATING.

>> JENNA: THANK YOU.

AS A SOCIAL SCIENTIST WE THINK OF THESE ANALOGIES AND ERRORS ON ONE CASE THE STANDARDS ARE TOO LAX, YOU CAN'T CONVICT THE INNOCENT.

IN ANOTHER CASE THE STANDARDS ARE TOO STRICT YOU LET THE GUILTY GO FREE; THAT IS, WE SEE IT AS TWO SIDES OF THE SAME COIN.

I KNOW WE WANT BOTH BUT WE SEE THIS TRADEOFF.

AND WHEN YOU FOCUS ON ONE YOU MAKE A SACRIFICE TO THE OTHER.

SO HOW ARE YOU WORKING TO ENSURE THAT THE MEASURES YOU PUT IN PLACE DON'T INADVERTENTLY EXACERBATE THE OTHER PROBLEM AND MAYBE FRANK ‑‑ I'M SORRY.

SECRETARY LAROSE.

>> FRANK: NO PROBLEM.

>> JENNA: I'M SORRY.

>> FRANK: NO PROBLEM.

>> JENNA: AND WHAT HAS COME THIS WEEK TO HAVE A BALLOT DROPBOX AND ONE MEMBER SAYS, WELL, HOW DOES THAT MAKE SENSE WHEN YOU HAVE CAYOUGHA COUNTY WITH REGISTERED VOTERS AND BENTON COUNTY WITH 1,000 REGISTERED AND SO IS THERE THIS TRADEOFF IN YOUR MIND AS YOU'RE MAKING THIS DECISION?

>> FRANK: FIRST OF ALL, IT CAN BE THE IDEA THAT YOU CAN BE FOR A PUBLIC POLICY AND, ALSO, FOR A RULE OF LAW; RIGHT?  I'VE LONG SAID THAT WE SHOULD WORK WITH THE STATE LEGISLATURE TO EXPAND THE USES OF DROPBOXES IN OHIO.

THOSE DECISIONS SHOULD BE MADE AT THE STATEHOUSE AND NOT THE COURTHOUSE; RIGHT?  THERE IS ALSO A PRINCIPAL THAT GOES BACK TO THE 2006 CASE CALLED THE PURCELL CASE THAT YOU SHOULD NOT BE MAKING CHANGES WHEN IT COMES TO ELECTION.

THAT CREATES INSECURITY.

AND IT CAN CREATE A PREFIX FOR PEOPLE TO CALL IN AFTER THE ELECTION.

SO WHAT THE LAW SAYS IN OHIO AND I'VE BEEN VERY CLEAR ABOUT IS THAT ABSENTEE BALLOTS ARE RETURNED IN A MAJORITY OF WAYS OF THAT WAS THE CASE IN 2 008.

AND IN OHIO THE LAW SAYS YOU MAY PERSONALLY DELIVER IT TO THE DIRECTOR OF THE BOARD OF ELECTIONS.

THEN THE LAW SAYS YOU MAY HAVE A FAMILY MEMBER PERSONALLY DELIVER IT TO THE DIRECTOR OF THE BOARD OF ELECTIONS.

THOSE WHO DRAFTED THAT LEGISLATION FROM LONG AGO, IT ACTUALLY ENDS WITH THE WORDS "BALLOTS MAY BE TRANSMITTED THROUGH NO OTHER MEANS" AND THEY ACTUALLY RESTATED IT AT THE END OF THAT CODE STRUCTURE.

FOR ME TO SAY WE'LL SEE HOW IT GOES WOULD BE DEEPLY IRRESPONSIBLE.

AND, BY THE WAY, THE WAY THAT WE CHANGE ELECTIONS.

WE'VE STARTED EARLY VOTING NOW YOU CAN SEE 24 DAYS AND 15 HOURS UNTIL ELECTION DAY COMES.

THE TIME FOR MAKING THOSE KIND OF CHANGE CHANGES HAS PASSED.

AND HERE IS WHERE IT IS A LITTLE DISINGENUOUS TO LEGISLATORS.

WHERE WERE YOU MONTHS AGO IN INSTEAD OF FILING A LAST‑MINUTE LAWSUIT, WHY CAN'T WE MAKE CHANGES IN THE LEGISLATURE.

I'VE SPOKEN TO OUR LEGISLATURE ALREADY.

>> JENNA: THANK YOU.

I APPRECIATE THAT.

AND I'M SO SORRY WE ARE RUNNING OUT OF TIME.

>> JOCELYN: WE HAVE A LOT TO SAY.

>> JENNA: I FEEL LIKE WE COULD GO ON FOR HOURS.

SO HERE IS A QUICK ONE FOR YOU BOTH ‑‑ WHY IS THE SECRETARY OF STATE A PARTISAN POSITION?  YOU BOTH HAVE PROFESSIONAL BACKGROUNDS THAT ARE VERY NON‑PARTISAN; RIGHT?  SECRETARY BENSON, YOU WERE DEAN OF A LAW SCHOOL.

SECRETARY LA DEPRECIATION ROSE, YOU'RE A DECORATED VETERAN; RIGHT?  NEWS 13.

WHY IS THIS POSITION PURPOSE?  AND WOULD THE ELECTORAL PROCESS BE BETTER‑SERVED IF THE ELECTIONS TO THE SECRETARY OF STATE WERE RUN WITH ABSENT PARTY AFFILIATION?

>> JOCELYN: WELL, INTERESTINGLY, WE SAY SHOULD THIS BE APPOINTED SECRETARY OF STATE LIKE IN WISCONSIN AND APPOINTED LIKE IN FLORIDA OR PEP PEN OR ELECTED, LIKE YOU HAVE IN MICHIGAN OR OHIO?  WHEN I ACTUALLY WROTE ABOUT THIS ISSUE IN MY BOOK AND THIS GETS, PROFESSOR, BACK TO YOUR PREVIOUS POINT ABOUT: CAN YOU HAVE A ‑‑ CAN YOU BOTH MAKE IT EASIER TO VOTE AND HARDER TO CHEAT?  I ACTUALLY DEFINE NOUN PARTISAN ELECTION ADMINISTRATION, WHICH I THINK CAN BE PURSUED BY AN ELECTED DEMOCRAT OR REPUBLICAN SECRETARY OF STATE THROUGH THAT VECTOR THAT, EVERY TIME DO YOU SOMETHING TO EXPAND CORRESPONDENCE TO THE VOTE, YOU ARE DOING SOMETHING AT THE SAME TIME TO INCREASE SECURITY OF THE PROCESS THAT.  IS ‑‑ YOU KNOW, IT IS A GOOD PUBLIC‑POLICY MOVE.

AND YOU MAKE DATA‑DRIVEN DECISIONS IN THAT VAIN.

BUT WHEN YOU LOOK AT SECRETARIES OF STATE AND TRY TO EVALUATE THOSE WHO SEEK TO HAVE A NON‑PARTISAN APPROACH TO THIS OFFICE, AS ‑‑ AS WE HAVE IT IS SECRETARIES WHO STRIKE THAT BALANCE AS MANY OF OUR COLLEAGUES HAVE WORKED TO DO.

AND THEN ALSO, MAKE DATA‑DRIVEN DECISIONS AND STEER CLEAR OF PARTISAN AGENDAS AND, YOU KNOW, POLITICAL APPROACHES TO THINGS.

IT'S NOT EASY TO SURVIVE IN A POLITICAL ECOSYSTEM, WHERE WE DO HAVE TO GET ELECTED THROUGH A PARTISAN PROCESS WHEN YOU'RE JUST SIMPLY TRYING TO DO YOUR JOBS AS A PROFESSIONAL.

BUT I FOUND, IN MY VIEW, THE PERSON REALLY, AND IF YOU HAVE THE BACKGROUND YOU JUST TALKED ABOUT, THE PERSON CAN DO PARTISAN IF THEY WORK THROUGH A PARTISAN PROCESS.

I KNOW SECRETARY LAROSE HAS WORKED THROUGH THAT AS WELL.

>> FRANK: I WOULD AGREE WITH SECRETARY BENSON AS WELL.

IT IS NOT THE LETTERS THAT COME AFTER THEIR NAME.

WHEN WE TAKE THIS POSITION JERSEY, WE PUT ON THE JERSEY AND THE REFEREE STRIPES.

AND THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN ELECTED ON A PARTISAN TICKET THAT DO THE JOB IN A NON‑PARTISAN WAY THERE.  ARE A FEW EXCEPTIONS HERE AND THERE.

IT IS ONE GENUINELY THAT MOST SECRETARIES CARRY OUT IN A TRULY DOWNRIGHT MANNER.

ALSO, IT WOULD BE A LEANING OR AT LEAST AN IDEOLOGICAL BELIEF SO WHY FORCE PEOPLE TO CONCEAL THAT JUST TO SAY THIS IS A NON‑PARTISAN PERSON?  YOU CAN ELECT A PRINCIPAL TO DO THIS WELL.

JOCELYN AND I HAVE DONE THIS AND I'M A DEMOCRAT AND SHE'S A REPUBLICAN AND WE WE HAVE THE WORK THAT THEY WOULD NOT ENDORSE CANDIDATES, FOR EXAMPLE, NOT TO SPEAK AT RALLIES, THAT KIND OF THING.

I THINK THAT'S IMPORTANT IN THAT ‑‑ IN THAT REGARD AS WELL.

>> JENNA: YEAH.

THAT TRANSPARENCY MAKES A LOT OF SENSE.

I WANT TO TAKE THE LAST MINUTE THAT WE HAVE TO GIVE SECRETARY BENSON AN OPPORTUNITY JUST TO GIVE US THE QUICK MINUTE ON WHAT'S HAPPENING WITH THE INDEPENDENT DISTRICTING COMMISSION?

>> JOCELYN: MY HEART.

YEAH.

GO TO MICHIGANREDISTRICTING.ORG TO FIND OUT EVERYTHING THAT IS HAPPENING.

BUT, ESSENTIALLY, WE ARE DEEP NOW IN THE THIRD PHASE IN THE FINAL PHASE OF THAT PROCESS.

WE HAVE THROUGH A SELECTION PROCESS THAT WAS RANDOM AND WENT THROUGH NEARLY 10,000 APPLICANTS SELECTED, 13 COMMISSIONERS WHO HAVE BUILT OUT THE PROCESS AND DO EVERYTHING THAT THEY NEED TO DO THROUGHOUT THE CENSUS NEXT YEAR, DRAW THE NEXT DISTRICTS IN OUR STATE.

WE CAN COME BACK AND, ACTUALLY, I AND SECRETARY LAROSE CAN TALK ABOUT REDISTRICTING IN OUR STATE AS WELL.

CAN I SAY I HAVE ENORMOUS CONFIDENCE IN OUR MEMBERS.

EACH ONE OF THEM REGARDLESS OF THEIR PARTY AFFILIATION JUST COMMITTED TO HAVING A FAIR PROCESS AND YOU CAN GO TO MICHIGANREDISTRICTING.ORG AND THEY WILL TAKE YOUR SUGGESTIONS ON YOUR MAPS AND WHAT DISTRICT YOU WANT TO BE IN AND TAKE THAT INPUT AND DRAW COMPETITIVE MAPS THROUGHOUT OUR STATE.

>> JENNA: I'M VERY EXCITED TO HEAR ABOUT THAT WORK.

I'LL GO AND READ AND I'LL SEND MY STUDENTS THERE AS WELL.

I THINK PROBABLY WE'LL NEED TO ‑‑ YOU BOTH HAVE SO MUCH WORK TO DO THE NEXT COUPLE OF WEEKS ON OUR BEHALF, WHICH WE'RE SO GRATEFUL FOR.

AND MAYBE AFTER THE ELECTION AT SOME POINT WE CAN BRING YOU BOTH BACK TO FORD TO TALK ABOUT SOME OF THESE PROJECTS AND ABOUT YOUR PROJECT ON RESTORING CIVILITY WHICH I AM DEEPLY INTERESTED IN.

THANK YOU VERY, VERY MUCH FOR AN ENGAGING AND IMPORTANT CONVERSATION AND TO OUR AUDIENCE, WHO SUBMITTED SUCH INTERESTING QUESTIONS.

UHM, I'D LIKE TO SAY TO YOU ALL ‑‑ PLEASE STAY TUNED TO OUR WEBSITE AND SOCIAL MEDIA PAGES ABOUT UPCOMING VIRTUAL EVENTS AT THE FORD SCHOOL.

AND PLEASE BE SURE TO VOTE.

THANK YOU, EVERYONE.

>> FRANK: THANK YOU.

>> JOCELYN: BYE.

HAVE A GOOD WEEKEND, GUYS.

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