The lesser known office

Learn about the two women running for Michigan SOS

Alongside the gubernatorial candidates, the role of Secretary of State is also up for grabs.

Like the gubernatorial election, both the incumbent and the challenger are women. Representing the Democratic party is incumbent Jocelyn Benson. Her challenger, Kristina Karamo, is representing the Republican party.

Jocelyn Benson

Benson is seeking her second term as Michigan’s Secretary of State, as she was elected in 2018. In her 2018 campaign, she ran on the promise of reducing SoS wait times to 20 minutes or less.

This promise was seemingly fulfilled as, according to Bridge Michigan, SoS records show that visits to the SoS take less than 20 minutes, and the amount of business completed at the SoS’ self-service kiosk and online has “increased to 60 percent from 28 percent in 2018.”

In her tenure, Benson oversaw Michigan’s part in the controversial 2020 election. The election in question is where Benson draws some criticism. Republicans viewed her rollout of unsolicited absentee ballots as a potential danger to the security of the election.

According to Benson’s website, her victories from her first term include:

  • Modernizing voter registration
  • Recruiting 30,000 election workers
  • Securing drop boxes
  • Enabling at-home voting
  • Mailing absentee ballot request forms to all voters
  • Releasing online absentee applications
  • Engaging underrepresented voters
  • Conducting hundreds of election audits

During the pandemic, Benson kept all 131 Michigan SoS offices open. To accomplish this, she changed the service to an appointment only system, which is still in use.

Benson is backed by notable organizations. Some of these organizations include Planned Parenthood, the Detroit Free Press, the Detroit News, the Sierra Club, United Auto Workers and the Black Economic Alliance.

Kristina Karamo

Challenging Benson is Karamo, who is a political newcomer. Before this election, Karamo ran for the Oakland County Board of Commissioners and volunteered in other political spaces. While working as a poll challenger in Detroit, she claimed she witnessed election fraud occur at the absentee counting board.

According to her website, Karamo wants to “restore the rule of law and earn back the trust of Michigan citizens in our government.”

Karamo is running on the specific issues of election integrity, fair auto shop inspections, identity protection, fully opening SoS offices, investigating fraud claims and election security.

Karamo has been endorsed by many groups and figures. Her biggest endorsement comes from former President Donald Trump.

“Kristina will fight for justice,” Trump said. “Good luck Kristina, and while you’re at it, check out the fake election results that took place in the city of Detroit.”

Alongside Trump’s endorsement are endorsements from former lieutenant general Michael Flynn, six Michigan representatives, multiple Michigan republicans, multiple Michigan county chairs and multiple Michigan congressional chairs.

The election for the SoS, alongside most other elections, is state-wide and not isolated to any district.

If you have conducted any business at an SoS office since 2018, you should be registered to vote in person. By the time this article runs, the deadline for online and absentee voting registration will have passed.

Michigan’s 2022 midterm election will be held on Nov. 8.