Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson

LANSING, MI (AP)--   Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson says people who book an appointment will get in and out of branch offices within a half-hour, but the guarantee doesn't apply to those who show up without one.

Benson campaigned on a 30-minute promise. She said Thursday she has achieved it because residents can now go online or call to make an appointment at all 131 branches.

LANSING, MI (AP)--   The state of Michigan will mail 250,000 applications encouraging voters to apply to serve on a new commission responsible for drawing congressional and legislative maps.

An independent accounting firm, Rehmann, randomly selected the 250,000 registered voters Tuesday. The applications will be mailed before year’s end.

The 2018 voter-approved constitutional amendment creating the panel requires that at least 10,000 applications be mailed. Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson says she decided to send 250,000 to ensure enough people respond.

FERNDALE, MI (AP)--   Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson says her department is making it easier for transgender people to get a driver’s license or state ID card. 

Starting Monday, those wanting to correct the sex designation on their license can go to a branch office to have their photo taken, fill out a form and pay $9. They no longer will need to provide a birth certificate, passport or court order.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel and Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson are asking a federal judge to toss a challenge the state’s new redistricting law. 

The amendment to create a new redistricting commission was adopted last year by voters. The amendment says former elected officials, party activists, and their relatives are not eligible to serve.

LANSING, MI (AP)--   Michigan's top election official is seeking public input on proposed application language and eligibility guidelines for people wanting to sit on a new commission that will draw congressional and legislative lines in 2020 and 2021. 

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson posted the language and guidelines online Thursday, and met with reporters to explain the process.

The deadline to weigh in is Aug. 9.

The applications will be made available starting in September and must be submitted before next June.

DETROIT, MI (MPRN)--   State officials in Michigan are blasting the US Supreme Court decision to reject cases involving partisan gerrymandering.

Michigan’s Secretary of State fears the ruling will have a chilling effect on challenges to government over-reach.

The High Court ruled it had no business deciding whether political boundaries were unfairly drawn because federal courts should not decide political questions. That likely includes a lower court decision that Michigan’s legislative map was gerrymandered.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Republicans in the state Legislature are taking on Attorney General Dana Nessel over a law she says is unconstitutional. 

Lawmakers announced Wednesday that they’ve filed a lawsuit against Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson for not implementing a 2018 ballot petition law. The law adds additional requirements for collections of signatures to get a measure on the ballot.

Republican Representative Jim Lower sponsored the original bill that became law. He says there’s a lot of ambiguity over how much weight the AG’s opinion really has.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   The future of a ballot-signature law passed last year is unclear. 

Wednesday Attorney General Dana Nessel said that parts of the law that add requirements to the ballot signature process are unconstitutional. Now Republican lawmakers - and others - are working on their next steps.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey says he’s waiting to see if Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson actually follows through on the order before deciding what to do.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   The leader of the state Senate Republicans says he’s not in favor of the Secretary of State’s call for candidates to disclose their financial information.

Last month, Jocelyn Benson said she wants the Legislature to pass bills that would require elected officials to disclose any outside income, investments, travel or gifts they got as candidates or after they were elected.

LANSING, MI (AP)--   Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson has agreed to settle a lawsuit over a ban on so-called ballot selfies. 

Joel Crookston, a voter in the Kalamazoo area, sued in 2016 to try to stop Michigan's ban on taking photos of marked ballots or publicly exposing them.

Lawyers won't talk about the deal until details are filed in federal court on May 8.

But a court filing last week suggests there will be an easing of the ban. The state said it wanted to avoid "any confusion" in polling places and wait until after local elections are held on May 7.