For Immediate Release — August 18, 2021 — Washington, D.C. — The National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) has voted to select the Michigan Department of State as the 2021 IDEAS (Innovation, Dedication, Excellence and Achievement in Service) Award recipient.
Michigan’s Democracy is a Team Sport: Forging Active Partnerships Between Election Officials and Major League Sports launched in 2020. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the program created partnerships with Michigan’s professional sports teams to educate voters, as well as support election administration. These efforts included use of team facilities as polling locations, holding voter registration events, and creating public service announcements with athletes promoting accurate and trusted elections information.
Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said this about the program receiving the NASS IDEAS Award:
“Democracy prevailed in 2020 because we forged new partnerships and came together in new ways to ensure every vote counted and every voice was heard. Part of that work involved the unprecedented involvement of Michigan’s professional sports teams to support election administration, recruit poll workers and educate voters about how to cast their ballot in the midst of a global pandemic. These collaborations ensured we were able to hold our state’s safest, most secure and most accessible election to date, and we’re extremely grateful for the leadership displayed by the Detroit Pistons, Lions, Tigers and Red Wings in helping to ensure the integrity and accessibility of our election.
It means so much to have this work applauded by my fellow Secretaries of State across the country with this award, and I am grateful for their support and recognition for our work.”
The award was presented to Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson by former NASS President Maggie Toulouse Oliver, New Mexico Secretary of State, on Sunday, August 15 during the NASS 2021 Summer Conference.
Secretary of State offices in Iowa, Kentucky and West Virginia were also recognized for their finalist submissions.
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Note: Attached is a photo of Secretary Jocelyn Benson with the IDEAS Award for media use. Please give photo credit to Philip Smith, 1L Photo.