Detroit City Clerk Janice Winfrey and Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson announced Wednesday morning a partnership “to ensure the integrity and accessibility” of the Nov. 3 general election in Detroit. This comes after longstanding problems in Detroit elections, including 72% of Detroit’s absentee voting precincts failing to match the number of ballots cast in the Aug. 4 primary.
The partnership is supported by Wayne County Executive Warren Evans, Wayne County Clerk Cathy Garrett, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and the Center for Tech and Civic Life and will include:
- Opening 14 additional satellite clerk offices – for a total of 21 across the city – where voters can register and request and return absentee ballots starting October 5. The offices will be open six days a week, staffed by city of Detroit employees and operating in recreation centers and other facilities.
- Installing more than 30 secure ballot drop boxes across the city that will be continuously monitored and secure.
- Recruiting and training at least 6,000 election workers to ensure every one of the city’s 182 polling locations and 134 absentee counting board is fully staffed.
- Hiring additional staff to support the city clerk’s office, including Christopher Thomas, former Michigan Bureau of Elections Director, who will serve as a senior advisor.
- Revising protocols for ballot counting and sorting to make more effective use of high-speed scanners and reduce the potential for error.
“Partnerships are critical to running smooth, secure elections and the additional staff, resources and support from the city, county and state will further strengthen our election system as we navigate this unprecedented time,” said Winfrey. “Detroit voters should feel completely confident that their voices will be heard when they cast their ballots ahead of and on Nov. 3.”
Little Caesars Arena will provide space for physically distant in person training for new election workers to ensure election workers and staff are fully prepared to execute their duties on Election Day.
And Detroit will also become the first city in the nation with all four of its top professional sports teams – the Detroit Red Wings, Tigers, Pistons and Lions – engaged with the city to promote voter education, provide staff election day off to serve as election workers, and use their arenas an sports facilities to support election administration.
“Democracy is a team sport and as a longtime resident of the city of Detroit I am proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with Clerk Winfrey to ensure she has all the support she needs as her team prepares for the culmination of one of the most challenging election cycles in modern history,” said Benson.