Former Michigan Secretaries of State Sue Benson Over Absentee Ballot Counting

Two former GOP secretaries of state are suing current Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson over a recent ruling that allows the department to count absentee ballots that arrive after Election Day.

Michigan Court of Claims Judge Cynthia Stephens ruled earlier this month that absentee ballots postmarked for November 2 can still be counted as valid even if they arrive up to two weeks after polls close on Election Day, a temporary rule for this election that goes against normal procedure, which generally allows absentee ballots to only be counted if they arrive before 8 p.m. on Election Day.

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More Than a Third of Michigan Voters Have Requested Absentee Ballots

A third of active Michigan voters have requested absentee ballots so far, a spokesperson from Michigan’s Secretary of State (SOS) office announced on Tuesday.

More than 2.39 million Michigan voters have requested ballots, more than 31 percent of the 7.7 million people registered to vote in Michigan and 35 percent of the state’s 6.7 million active voters, according to state data released by the SOS. Detroit City has requested the highest number of absentee ballots at 109,561 ballots, followed by Ann Arbor City at 40,786 ballots and Sterling Heights City at 32,083.

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Michigan Announces 13 Commissioners to Redraw District Voting Lines

Michigan has announced the 13 citizens who will be in charge of redrawing Michigan’s congressional and legislative boundaries for the next decade, drawing their names in a random selection process on Monday.

The Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission is made of four Democrats, four Republicans and four people not associated with either party.

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Puerto Ricans Demand Answers Over Primary Ballot Shortage and Election Delay

The future of Puerto Rico’s botched primaries rested in the hands of the island’s Supreme Court as answers trickled out Monday on why voting centers lacked ballots and forced officials to reschedule part of the primaries in a blow to the U.S. territory’s democracy.

A plan to hold another primary on Aug. 16 for centers that could not open on Sunday could change depending on the ruling of a lawsuit filed by Pedro Pierluisi, who is running against Gov. Wanda Vázquez to become the potential nominee of the pro-statehood New Progressive Party. Joining the lawsuit was Puerto Rico Sen. Eduardo Bhatia, of the main opposition Popular Democratic Party.

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Allen West Ousts James Dickey as Texas Republican Party Chair

Allen West clinched the position of party leader for the Texas Republicans early Monday morning, ousting James Dickey, who was first elected to the position in 2017.

Retired Army Lt. Col. West won 22 state Senate districts to Dickey’s four and claimed victory around 3:30 a.m, according to the Statesman News Network. Five districts are yet to report.

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Absentee Voter Applications Up By One Million Compared to 2016

Requests for absentee ballots are up by nearly one million compared to 2016, an increase of 350 percent, according to the Michigan Secretary of State.

Compared to this time in 2016 — 35 days before the primary election —the number of applications for absentee ballots is up by 945,605. Michigan has issued nearly 1,006,000 ballots compared to just 283,731 in 2016. More than 35,000 have already been returned, compared to the a little more than 23,800 four years ago.

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Trump Criticizes Federal Funding Over Michigan Decision to Mail Absentee Voting Applications

President Trump slammed Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson on Wednesday, calling her a “rouge” official and threatening to withhold federal funding.

Trump originally tweeted that Michigan was planning to send absentee ballots to all of its residents, adding that “this was done illegally and without authorization by a rogue Secretary of State. I will ask to hold up funding to Michigan if they want to go down this Voter Fraud path,” according to Politico.

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Whitmer Extends Canvassing Deadline for Michigan Primary

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer extended the deadline to tally the votes from the Michigan primary by executive order on Wednesday due to the spread of the coronavirus pandemic in the state.

The canvassing deadline for the March 10 primary was originally March 24, according to a guideline from the state of Michigan. Whitmer’s order has pushed it back to April 24.

“I am grateful to Governor Whitmer for ensuring our democracy will remain robust during this public health crisis,” said Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson in a statement. “Providing more time to canvass the recent election will provide certainty for Michiganders that our elections are accurate and worth everyone participating in.”

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Gov. Whitmer Announces Date of Special Election for Flint-Area’s 34th State House District

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced the dates of a special election for the 34th District for the State House of Representatives on Tuesday. The election aims to fill the spot left vacant by former state Rep. Sheldon Neeley (D-34-Flint), who resigned after being elected mayor of the city of Flint.

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