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Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy pres.

2020 Election: Voter Turnout and Access in Ohio and Michigan

U-M Suffrage 2020

Jocelyn Benson and Frank LaRose Jocelyn Benson and Frank LaRose
Jocelyn Benson and Frank LaRose
The Ford School invites you to join us for a conversation on voting rights and voter access, featuring Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson (link is external) and Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose (link is external). Jenna Bednar, Professor of Political Science and Public Policy, will moderate. Secretaries Benson and LaRose will discuss state-level approaches to voter access since 2016. Issues surrounding voter turnout during the upcoming 2020 election will also be discussed, including voting during the coronavirus pandemic.

For more details visit

From the panelists' bios:

Jocelyn Benson is Michigan’s 43rd Secretary of State. In this role she is focused on ensuring elections are secure and accessible, and dramatically improving customer experiences for all who interact with our offices. Benson is the author of State Secretaries of State: Guardians of the Democratic Process, the first major book on the role of the secretary of state in enforcing election and campaign finance laws. A graduate of Harvard Law School and expert on civil rights law, education law and election law, Benson served as dean of Wayne State University Law School in Detroit. She continues to serve as vice chair of the advisory board for the Levin Center at Wayne Law, which she founded with former U.S. Sen. Carl Levin. Previously, Benson was an associate professor and associate director of Wayne Law’s Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights.

Frank LaRose took office as Ohio's 51st Secretary of State on January 14th, 2019. Prior to being elected to statewide office, he served two terms in the State Senate representing the 27th Senate District in northeast Ohio. As Ohio’s Secretary of State, LaRose is doing his part to deliver a thriving democracy and a prosperous economy. In his role as Ohio’s chief elections officer, he’s working to ensure Ohio’s elections are secure, accurate and accessible. He is also supporting Ohio entrepreneurs as the sole authority to receive and approve articles of incorporation for Ohio businesses. Among numerous recognitions, LaRose was named the Legislator of the Year in 2016 by the Ohio Association of Election Officials in recognition of his support and commitment to improving Ohio’s election process. LaRose, a native of northeast Ohio, graduated from The Ohio State University with a degree in Consumer Affairs and Business.

Jenna Bednar is a professor of political science at the University of Michigan, the Edie N Goldenberg Endowed Director for the Michigan in Washington Program, and a member of the external faculty at the Santa Fe Institute. Her research combines positive political theory and systems theory to study how formal institutions, such as laws, electoral rules, or constitutions, remain effective in complex environments. Her most recent book,The Robust Federation demonstrates how complementary institutions maintain and adjust the distribution of authority between national and state governments.
Jocelyn Benson and Frank LaRose Jocelyn Benson and Frank LaRose
Jocelyn Benson and Frank LaRose

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