The two major party candidates seeking to become Michigan’s next secretary of state, Democrat Jocelyn Benson and Republican Ruth Johnson, traded barbs and offered sharp policy contrasts during a Friday debate.

The two had their first and probably only back-and-forth debate before the Nov. 2 election during a taping of public television’s “Off the Record” program. It will air on public television stations statewide over the weekend.

The candidates disagreed on whether Michigan should allow early voting or multiple days of voting at election time.

Benson, a Wayne State University law professor, supports such a move.

“Many other states have figured out how to do this,” Benson said.

Johnson, the Oakland County clerk, said it’s not a feasible move for Michigan because local clerks have responsibility to run elections.

“We don’t have the money in all the communities, so what would simply happen is some of the more wealthy communities would be able to extend that process for people. The ones that aren’t financially secure would not be able to. And that’s not equal access.”

Republican Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land can’t run for re-election this year because of Michigan’s term limits law.
(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)


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