Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson (D) on Sunday said election officials nationwide are most worried about “violence and disruption” as the midterm elections approach.
“Violence and disruption on Election Day, first and foremost, and in the days surrounding the election,” Benson told CBS “Face the Nation” chief Washington correspondent Major Garrett when asked about her biggest concern.
“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 added.
Despite her worries, Benson noted that election officials have been working for roughly two years to protect the integrity of the election process, an effort she described as a success “at every turn,” vowing to seek accountability for anyone who attempts to interfere with November’s midterm contests.
“Democracy prevailed in 2020,” she told Garrett. “There have been, in Michigan and in other states, no significant attempts apart from the tragedy in our Capitol on Jan. 6 to really see disruption of the polling places on Election Day itself.”
“So we are, in many ways, even more prepared this year than ever before … to ensure that we are eliminating, mitigating or certainly protecting the system against any potential disruptions,” Benson added.
Nearly two years after the 2020 presidential election, no evidence has emerged to suggest widespread fraud, but former President Trump and his allies have relentlessly attacked the nation’s elections with claims of mass manipulation.
Those unfounded claims include conspiracies related to voting machines, which at times have led to legal action, including a defamation lawsuit by Dominion Voting Systems against Fox News alleging the network purposely aired false claims about their machines for business purposes.
When asked about her announcement on Thursday that the state government is investigating an alleged illegal sale of a voter assist terminal, Benson expressed concerns about the incident while portraying confidence in Michigan’s election security, saying the state conducts accuracy tests prior to every election and immediately decommissions any equipment found to be potentially compromised.
Michigan’s Cadillac News had published an article indicating someone listed the machine, which disappeared from Colfax Township in Wexford County, on eBay. Michigan election law prevents citizens from withholding, breaking or destroying voting equipment as well as from obtaining “undue possession” of a voting machine.
Benson on Sunday clarified the machine in question did not tabulate votes but rather was used to assist voters needing assistance with marking their ballots.
“It’s important to note that that’s happening in this era of misinformation where people are quick to seize on the potential for machines to be somehow insecure, and our work in Michigan is to ensure that any machine that is illegally accessed or even tempted to be illegally accessed is decommissioned and we only have secure machines in play on Election Day,” Benson said on CBS.