Senate panel OKs Victory bill to ensure proper election training

LANSING, Mich. — The Senate Elections Committee on Wednesday approved Sen. Roger Victory’s legislation to enable the public to know if their local clerk has met the state’s election training requirements.

“This is about integrity and accountability. Ensuring local officials are effectively trained on how to properly run an election is critical to restoring the public’s confidence in our elections,” said Victory, R-Hudsonville. “Thankfully, most of our local clerks take their jobs seriously, and this will only help reassure their communities that they are staying up-to-date with their training.

“This reform would also inform clerks if they fall behind on training and let the public know if their clerk has failed to meet state standards.”

In December 2019, the state auditor general released a performance audit of the Bureau of Elections that found several issues in need of attention. The audit noted 32 counties, 83 cities, and 426 townships where the clerk had not completed the training necessary to be accredited. In total, the audit found that 21% of jurisdictions were without a fully accredited election official.

Senate Bill 306 would require the secretary of state to submit a report to the Legislature no less than 60 days before each general November election detailing the names of each county, city, and township clerk who are not current with all training and continuing education requirements. The report would also be required to be posted online.

To provide clerks who are incomplete in their training with proper notice, the secretary of state would be required to send them a notice not less than 90 days before each general November election. The clerks would then have 30 days to provide proof that they have completed their training.

SB 306 would also allow a clerk to have their name removed from the website after completing the required training.

The bill now heads to the full Senate for consideration.

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