LANSING, Mich., February 12, 2020 – Last Friday, MIRS reported on conflicts erupting at local Michigan Secretary of State (SOS) branches, due to “customers getting upset when they couldn't complete their branch office business”. A FOIA of the SOS showed over 50 “critical incident” reports have been filed with the governor’s office over the last year. The most of any state agency in 2019.
The incident reports went as far as customers yelling at each other and clerks, destroying offices, throwing food, threats of physical violence, and assaults on state employees. Despite Governor Whitmer’s Executive Directive offering a more open line of communication for state employees to report incidents to her office, MIRS reported that workers “didn't bother reporting incidents because they didn't think there would be any follow-up” from the Secretary of State.
In Tuesday’s MIRS “Capitol Capsule”, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson even conceded that branch security is a “significant issue”.
The eye-opening report comes on the heels of high senior staff turnover in Benson’s office. Benson’s Chief Deputy, Chief of Staff, Communications Director, Deputy Communications Director and Elections Chief have all departed within the last year.
Michigan Republican Party Chairman, Laura Cox, said the incidents are especially troubling, considering Benson’s position as one of the state’s top executives.
“The reports about the chaos happening at Secretary of State branches under Jocelyn Benson’s watch is incredibly troubling. How can Benson be trusted to ensure the integrity of Michigan’s elections, when she can’t ensure her own offices run smoothly?” Michigan Republican Party Chairman Laura Cox said. Cox continued, “The long wait times at these offices and the frustrations they have caused Michigan citizens have to be addressed immediately and the safety of her employees and customers guaranteed.”