League of Women Voters of Michigan
Nonpartisan Voter Guide – November 2010

© LWVMI Education Fund 2010




Secretary of State – Four Year Term – Vote for One (1)



      1.   Provide biographical information, including your qualifications for the office of Secretary of State and the reasons you are running.   (100-word limit)


      2.   What measures would you support to make voting more convenient and accessible for citizens?   (100-word limit)


      3.   What measures do you support or oppose regarding campaign finance reform?

            (100-word limit)




Ruth Johnson, Republican, http://www.rj4mi.com


1. While working part-time, I earned a bachelors degree in education from Oakland University and later a masters degree  from Wayne State University.  I've owned a small business and served in the legislature, where I used subpoena power to uncover theft of school funds, resulting in a government official going to prison.  I currently serve as Oakland County Clerk, where I administer elections and services in Michigan's 2nd largest county.  I am running to protect the integrity of elections in our state, to cut costs, improve services, and to attract business investment and jobs to Michigan.


2. I have proposed a voluntary program where people could vote absentee without having to give a reason, but would be required to present valid photo ID. I look forward to working with my fellow election officials to move this plan forward – a plan which strikes a balance between increasing election integrity while improving convenience for voters.


3. I support increasing the transparency of campaign financing.  People have a right to know if out-of-state interests or a few wealthy individuals are providing major backing to a particular candidate or PAC.  To that end, I support aligning report filing deadlines with national standards, which require quarterly reports for legislative campaigns.




Jocelyn Michelle Benson, Democratic, www.VoteBenson.com


1. I was raised by two special education teachers and have spent my career advocating for efficient and transparent government that puts people first.  I want to bring change to Lansing: improving service, protecting pocketbooks, and making sure that elected officials work for citizens and not corporate and special interests.  As a law professor at Wayne State University Law School, I teach election law and have published the first major book on the best non-partisan practices of Secretary of State in enforcing election and campaign finance laws.  I am a graduate of Wellesley College, Oxford University, and Harvard Law School.


2. If you want to vote by absentee ballot, you should be able to do so without needing to provide a reason or excuse to your local clerk. If you want to vote early, on a Saturday or Sunday, you should be able to do so.  I will actively work to promote and protect the voting rights of our citizens who are serving in the military.  I also want to review the accessibility of our polling sites for voters with physical disabilities.


3. We should require corporations to publicly file reports when they spend money from corporate treasury funds to influence elections.  Michigan corporations should receive consent from their shareholders before spending money to influence elections.  Corporations owned by foreign investors should be prohibited from using corporate funds to support or oppose candidates or issues.  Companies with contracts with or grants from the State of Michigan should be prohibited from using corporate funds to influence elections.   We should apply financial disclosure requirements to the funders of robo-calls.  The state should publish a statewide “naughty list” of those who violate campaign finance laws.




John Anthony La Pietra, Green, http://members.triton.net/jalp/jalp4FBE.html


1. 21-year Marshall resident; lifelong publicly-active citizen.    BA Macalester College, 1978.  JD Cooley Law School, 2008; top grades include Election Law.    Ten years *working* in state/local government, using tax money effectively for efficient services.  Also ten years in private sector, six for non-profits, two practicing law.    Michigan’s Constitution promises “purity of elections”.  That includes elections run fairly and evenhandedly.  Voting and election rights are crucial — they protect all our other rights.  I helped challengers win state permission to videorecord absentee-ballot processing for 2009 Benton Harbor city elections.  Now I’m running to help *all* Michigan voters get fairer, better elections.


2. Enough voting stations for all precincts – minimum one per 100 registered voters, not the current 1/300 ratio which gives voters only 2.6 minutes on average.    No-reason absentee voting, to ease demand on in-person voting facilities.    More voting stations voters can sit down at.    Same-day registration ... once our people and technology can handle real-time updates.  For now, provide best service possible:  allow registration until 14 days, or even seven, before the election.    If someone votes a provisional ballot, the review process should identify races where the voter was eligible to participate and count any valid votes cast in those races.


3. I’ve voluntarily adopted the kind of reformed campaign financing most regular voters want:  no corporate money, and no more than $100 of anyone’s financial support.  Candidates for Secretary of State, the chief elected official responsible for administering elections, should have fair, non-partisan, grassroots public financing.    We also need fair rules, and enforcement, without partisanship or cronyism.  And if we must treat money as speech, rational regulation of time, place, and manner can ensure that the “volume” from some speakers doesn’t drown out other voices.    Disclosure of contributions and expenditures alone isn’t enough, but it’s essential – and the bigger, the sooner.




Robert Gale, US Taxpayer, WWW.USTPM.org


1. I have been a self employed businessman for over twenty five years. I attended Macomb Community College and MSU. I am not a Republican or Democrat the same old boring thing. I am a Taxpayer not a Politican! The Secretary of State office is to BIG and burden some for the honest Michigan  taxpayers. I would work tirelessly to  down size and dismantle this office as it is known today. I would turn the Secretary of State office over to the private sector and return the tax savings back to the residents of Michigan.


2. I support all measures to make voting more convenient and accessible for ALL citizens. Turning over the Secretary of State office over to the private sector will be a utopia compared to the way things are currently handled today by the Democrats and Republicans. I will not support the Democrats or Republicans in any way they are the reason for the fine mess  Michigan and the USA are in today.


3. Campaign finance reform is nothing more than smoke and mirrors for the power brokers which are the Democrats and Republicans. The Democrats and Republicans are solely responsible for the campaign reform mess we are all in today. The reform I would support is getting government along with the Democrats and Republicans out of any and all reforms. This is definitely the only way to do it right.




Scotty Boman, Libertarian, www.scottyboman.org


1. I’ve been a candidate in every statewide election since 1994.    I’ve been an educator for 21 years, and teach Physics at WCCCD and MCC.    I received my BS from WMU in 1985, with majors in Physics and Philosophy, and a minor in Mathematics. I earned an MA in Physics from Western two years later, and an MAT from WSU in 1999.    The next Secretary of State will have 30 days to decide if Michigan will be enrolled in the Real ID Act.  I pledge to protect the privacy of Michigan residents and reject the Real ID Act.


2. I support no-reason absentee voting so long as we improve citizenship verification for all voting, and the ballots are counted along with the in-person ballots on the same day.    Absentee voting is already a reality.  At present it is common for people to lie, if their actual reason isn’t among the approved choices.  Removing this restriction would have little effect beyond removing an incentive to lie.    I would also institute new fraud reduction strategies.  These would include:  Requiring proof of citizenship to register to vote, and the use of PIN numbers with absentee ballots.


3. Major party candidates get huge contributions from PACs.  Many PACs donate “access money” to major party candidates on the assumption that they will get the attention of whoever wins.  Minor party candidates must rely on individual contributions to fund their campaigns.  Therefore, I support lifting individual contribution limits.    I would support an end to taxpayer-funded primaries; they only serve to enshrine the major parties.  If political parties wish to keep primaries, they should fund and administer them on their own.    Finally, I support an end to matching funds, whereby taxpayers are forced to support gubernatorial campaigns.