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Benson, Winfrey form "partnership" to ensure Detroit election process

April Baer
Michigan Radio

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson and Detroit city clerk Janice Winfrey have formed what they call a “partnership” to help run Detroit’s November election more smoothly.

Detroit had some election troubles during the August primary. There was a mismatch between electronic poll book entries and voter tallies in many precincts, particularly absentee voter ones. That led to calls for Benson to step in and make sure Winfrey’s office could handle things in November.

This partnership and the additional resources it entails is partly an attempt to do that, and to “ensure the integrity and accessibility of the November 3 general election in Detroit.”

The city will open 14 additional satellite clerk’s offices (for a total of 21) where people can register to vote, and request and return absentee ballots. It will also install more than 30 secure ballot boxes across the city.

Detroit will also recruit and train at least 6,000 election workers to staff polling places and the absentee counting board. The elections division will also hire additional staff, including former Michigan Bureau of Elections director Chris Thomas, who will be a senior advisor. They will help revise protocol for ballot counting and sorting, and make better use of high-speed vote tabulators.

Detroit’s four pro sports teams are getting involved too. The Detroit Red Wings, Pistons, Lions, and Tigers will “engage with the city to promote voter education, provide staff election day off to serve as election workers, and use their arenas and sports facilities to support election administration,” according to a release.

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Public in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.
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