Michigan SOS Jocelyn Benson calls GOP election reform bills 'anti-American effort'

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson denounced voting reform bills recently introduced by Republicans.

During a press conference Thursday, Benson called the bills an "anti-American effort."

These voting reforms include requiring an ID to vote in-person and absentee, not allowing prepaid postage on absentee ballots, and preventing absentee voters from dropping their ballots at a drop-boxes.

Related: Ford, GM, and 34 other Michigan companies oppose GOP voting bills

"There’s no act more patriotic than protecting the right to vote," Benson said.

Republicans have said the changes would make voting easier and would help prevent voter fraud. Benson said the efforts to change voting laws are being driven by claims that there was cheating in the 2020 election.

Benson asserted that the legislation would make it more difficult to vote. For instance, one bill would require a photocopy of a voter's ID to be attached to their absentee ballot application. Benson noted that this would force people, including seniors, to find a copy machine, while not making elections more secure.

"There's no security provision. There's no evidence or data or even precedent to suggest that somehow would prevent voter fraud. Of course, already citizens must sign the application that they mail in. That signature is then matched to the signature on record and used to identify the voter," Benson said. "It's much more difficult to forge a signature than it is to create a fake ID, photocopy it, and send it in."

She also argued that mailing copies of IDs could lead to more identity theft.

"We just want to do the job of protecting every citizen’s right to vote," Benson said. "These bills make it harder to do that."

Several bills would be vetoed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer if they reach her desk. However, Republicans have said that they plan a maneuver that would enable the Legislature to pass them into law anyway if enough voter signatures are gathered for a ballot initiative.

Michigan GOP communications director Ted Goodman told FOX 2  with us Thursday that Republicans see their efforts as improving voting security.

"It’s all about making it easier to vote and harder to cheat," he said. "I would disagree with that characterization and I would say that we have millions and millions of Americans with legitimate concerns over the security of our elections."