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Secretary of State candidates spar over wait times and government transparency

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The Secretary of State says local jurisdictions and school districts in 82 of Michigan's 83 counties are conducting elections today.

The Republican and Democratic candidates for Secretary of State sparred in a debate Friday.

Both candidates presented their credentials and made their case for why they are the best person to run the office in charge of Michigan’s voting and driving.

The candidates sparred over each other’s campaign promises.

Democratic candidate Jocelyn Benson promises a 30-minute wait time at Secretary of State offices.

“This is just about doing better for our citizens and saying, ‘hold me accountable,’” she said.

But Republican candidate Mary Treder Lang calls the promise a gimmick.

“This is not a pizza delivery place,” she said.

Lang and Benson agree on at least one thing. Michigan residents shouldn’t have to pay more to drive on bad roads. But depending on who the state’s next governor is, they may have a problem with that campaign promise. The next governor might want to increase user fees to pay for Michigan’s crumbling roads.

Candidates for the Libertarian and U.S. Taxpayers parties are also on the ballot for Secretary of State.

Before becoming the newest Capitol reporter for the Michigan Public Radio Network, Cheyna Roth was an attorney. She spent her days fighting it out in court as an assistant prosecuting attorney for Ionia County. Eventually, Cheyna took her investigative and interview skills and moved on to journalism. She got her masters at Michigan State University and was a documentary filmmaker, podcaster, and freelance writer before finding her home with NPR. Very soon after joining MPRN, Cheyna started covering the 2016 presidential election, chasing after Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and all their surrogates as they duked it out for Michigan. Cheyna also focuses on the Legislature and criminal justice issues for MPRN. Cheyna is obsessively curious, a passionate storyteller, and an occasional backpacker. Follow her on Twitter at @Cheyna_R