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Opinion: Clean up elections, government accountability in Lansing

If Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson are serious about restoring the public’s faith in Michigan’s elections, they must support common-sense reforms to make Michigan’s elections more secure. 

The public mistrust of Michigan’s elections and the politicians who oversee them is justified.

Democrat officials and, sadly, many Republicans have used the Michigan Senate’s report on the November 2020 election to justify inaction or sweep questions under the rug. 

Whitmer described the report’s recommendations as unsubstantiated by facts and not necessary. Her comments are false.

Serious problems are substantiated. Benson, who oversees Michigan elections, changed existing rules for signature matching only days before the 2020 general election. The Michigan Court of Claims ruled this action was invalid.  

Benson knew exactly what she was doing. Just after the 2020 primary elections in Michigan, she demanded legislators pass election law changes, including weakening signature match requirements before the general election. 

But the Legislature did not give Benson what she wanted. So she did it herself just days before the presidential election.

Will Whitmer hold Benson accountable? Will Attorney General Dana Nessel?  

Of course not.

These very same people enforced unconstitutional rules against everyday Michigan residents throughout the lockdowns.

Executive branch Democrats in Lansing have willfully violated the constitution and law repeatedly, especially over the last year. Yet nothing happens to them. 

The persistent lack of accountability for politicians undermines public confidence in elections — and everything the government does.  

Common-sense remedies for restoring election integrity and thereby voter confidence include the Senate’s recommendation to put in place actual rules for signature matching along with measures to ensure voters identify themselves.

The Legislature tried to do so by passing a voter ID law, which an overwhelming majority of Americans support. 

Liberals call voter ID a “poll tax,” a patently false and intentional mischaracterization.   State IDs are already free in Michigan for those over 65 and cost $10 for everyone else. Republican legislators have also passed proposals to make IDs completely free to all Michigan residents.

Whitmer will likely veto these reforms anyway. 

If I were governor, I would sign a voter ID law, including making IDs free for all. I would also invest in solving any remaining access problems were they found to exist. 

And, I would hold government officials accountable for violating the constitution and the law. 

These actions are common sense. They help solve real problems. They would help restore the public’s faith in our elections process. And they would be the beginning of my effort to clean up the government.

Tudor Dixon is a Republican candidate for governor of Michigan. She resides with her family in west Michigan.