LANSING, Mich. (Michigan News Source) – Despite accusations of partisanship from political opponents, Michigan Democratic Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson is committed to defend democracy against former President Donald Trump and his supporters according to her many recent media appearances. As she does so, she is battling two lawsuits filed by the Republican National Committee (RNC).

The first lawsuit was filed against Benson for not cleaning up the voter rolls in Michigan. The RNC has alleged that the state has “failed to live up to” the NVRA (National Voter Registration Act’s) requirement to have clean voter registration rolls.

RNC files two lawsuits against Michigan’s secretary of state.

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The lawsuit, which was filed in federal court, argues that 53 or Michigan’s 83 counties have more registered voters than adults of legal voting age.

The second lawsuit, filed more recently, is about Benson’s handling of absentee ballots. The lawsuit contends that Benson covertly attempted to bypass the absentee voting protections of the state, and asserts that the party discovered the secretary of state had given confidential directives to local election officials prior to the February 2024 primary election.

Although Benson says in her “Signature Verification, Voter Notification, and Signature Cure” directive in December 2023 that “clerks must determine whether the signature being validated agrees sufficiently with the signature on file,” she goes on to say clerks should consider a voter’s signature questionable “only if it differs in significant and obvious respects from the signature on file.” She allows for dissimilarities in favor of the voter and exact matches are “not required.”

RNC co-chairman Michael Whatley said about the matter in a press conference, “Michigan’s State Constitution is very clear: election officials have to verify the identity of voters casting absentee ballots. Jocelyn Benson is yet again working to undermine election integrity by secretly instructing officials to disregard and circumvent these clear requirements. The RNC is suing Benson because Michiganders deserve election integrity, not underhanded Democrat schemes.”

Whether what Benson is doing is a “scheme” or a fight to protect democracy seems to be in the eye of the beholder.

Secretaries of state defending against what they deem to be misinformation and lies.

While Benson was on Medias Touch earlier in March, she discussed how she and six other battleground states’ secretaries of states are “coordinating” in the “battle for our democracy.”

She discussed seeing a nationally coordinated effort in 2020 to undermine the will of the people before, during and after election day and she said, “We learned to semi-coordinate with each other in 2020.” She went on to say there are secretaries of state who are constantly comparing notes and deciding how to respond” to nationally coordinated efforts with a nationally coordinated response.

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Those coordinating states she mentioned are reported to be Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Georgia and Nevada.

While talking with Medias Touch, Benson said, “We have a lot of candidates, particularly on the Republican side, who, one in particular, who loves to run on lies. And so a lot of my work will be doing will be trying to equip citizens to cut through the lies and see the truth and the true contrast in what’s at stake for Americans and for Michiganders in this moment.”

Benson continued to say that November’s election will “define the future of our country and our democracy.”

Benson was also on MSNBC’sThe Weekend” on March 23rd to discuss that coordination of the November elections. She described her efforts as fighting against the “confusion and chaos” and the fear that Trump created in 2020, saying, “We have to notice that the adversaries to democracy whether they come through candidates or other entities, their goal is to deter people from participating and cause people to give up on their own voice and their own vote.”

Benson making the rounds, communicating that she’s coordinating with others to defend democracy.

MSNBC’s Symone Sanders-Townsend brought up the topic of Benson’s “coordination” with secretaries of states from across the country and former RNC Chair Michael Steele discussed being on a number of calls with Benson. These calls were to talk about what he called “the preparation and coordination among the states to make sure not only are the stuff that you traditionally do are tight and in place and there is accounting for the ‘x’ factor – the bullying of the process of supporters of Donald Trump…”

In response to Steele’s accusation that Trump is lying about Benson’s ability to hold fair elections, the secretary said, “Well, first, we are rooted in the fact that our elections are more secure and transparent than ever before. And Michigan’s elections nationally was just ranked second in the nation having come up from being ranked 31st just five years ago. The reality is our elections are safe and secure.” She added, “We are constantly trying to overcome the lies and the threats that those lies spawn for our community.”

Benson also discussed the lawsuits that are being levied to create the “false narrative that Michigan’s elections are anything other than safe and secure” calling her fight as being in a “battle front” where the “truth” needs to rule the day against the bullies.

Democrats applaud Benson’s willingness to protect elections from Trump and his allies.

While some might think it’s not the job of a secretary of state to take a partisan stance on elections, Steele thinks Benson’s coordination with the other secretaries of state is a great thing. He said, “Stop being stupid, people. These folks have got, in light of coming off of 2020, and knowing what we’re going into in 2024, you better be grateful and thankful that our secretaries of states and our election boards and our election officials are talking to each other. That’s what coordination is. It is ‘how do you handle this problem that we are now seeing in our state.’ ‘How have you handled this situation…’”

Steele went on to say, “That’s the level of conversation that’s important when you’re dealing with a group of citizens led by a presidential candidate who are trying to already set in motion a narrative that this process is untrustworthy, that the officials who are running it are rigging the system.”

Steele thanked Benson for being a leading voice in the electoral space and said that Americans should be appreciative of her in Michigan where “crazy” is playing out. The host and the other panel members held up coffee mugs to toast Benson as well.

Benson said, “We’re just doing our jobs. We’re proud to do our jobs. And the coordination comes from the fact that we are facing a nationally coordinated effort to deter our elections and to deter people from participating in our elections so we absolutely need a nationally coordinated response.”

Hillary Clinton considers Benson to be a much needed leader to protect elections.

Benson was also congratulated by Hillary Clinton in a recent panel talk on the 2024 election called “Implications for the Upcoming U.S. Elections” on March 28th. Clinton talked about Benson being in the “eye of the storm” and called her one of the real “leaders” who has been trying to understand what’s been happening in elections.

After Benson discussed all she’s been doing to fight misinformation about the election from the “adversaries of our democracy”, Clinton told her, “I am a huge fan of what you and your attorney general and your governor have been doing.”