By Brandy Bailey, Contributor ElectWomen Magazine
During the 2008 elections there were rumors in the state of Michigan that foreclosure lists were being used to question and in many cases deny voter registration eligibility on election day. Seeing a lack of leadership on this issue, Jocelyn Benson, an election law expert, testified before the U.S. House Judiciary Committee where she called upon then Michigan Secretary of State Land to ban the use of foreclosure lists as a means of challenging voter eligibility. These events ultimately lead Democrat Jocelyn Benson to her decision to run for Secretary of State of Michigan in 2010.
Benson’s campaign revolves around four principals: fairness, access to government, integrity, and reforming government to work for the citizens of Michigan. She started her campaign with the goal of recruiting a county coordinator in each of Michigan’s 83 counties before the end of the year. Currently, she has achieved two thirds of that goal.
Governor Jennifer Granholm‘s campaign has helped to generate support for other young female candidates like Benson. “The great thing about our campaign is we have been getting a lot of support for young female candidates and supporting a farm team of women will help spread the message that women are real players in Michigan politics,” said Benson in a recent interview.
Benson has a long history of working for fair elections. During the 2004 presidential election the Democratic National Committee hired her to develop the first nationwide Election Protection program. Through this program she selected, recruited, and trained voter protection coordinators in 21 states. As a result of the program over 17,000 election law lawyers were deployed.
In 2008 Benson interviewed Secretaries of State from all across the country for a book she was writing. Her book Democracy and the Secretary of State is currently in production and will be released at the end of this year. The book highlights best practices of Secretaries of State from throughout the country and seeks to inform voters about how Secretaries of State from either side of the political spectrum can work for election reform.
Benson is a full-time assistant professor of law at Wayne State University Law School, where she teaches election law.
For more information on Jocelyn Benson or to contribute to her campaign you can visit her website at www.votebenson.com. You can also follow her campaign on Facebook and Twitter.