LANSING - Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson gave updates about the election during a press conference Tuesday night. She talked about absentee voting and expects that all ballots be counted within 24 hours.
3.3 million people voted by mail and more ballots were expected to arrive before the 8pm deadline. The state is close to reaching the goal of having all 3.5 million absentee ballots that were sent out returned. Benson expected that between 2 and 2.5 million people would vote in-person but there are no reports with a solid number.
Detroit, Ann Arbor and Grand Rapids were the cities that had the most people who registered to vote on Election day. Over 2,800 people across the state did same day registration. Benson said, “it’s a testament to voters around the state that so many were able to participate.”
Michigan is an important state for both candidates, but no winner has been declared because absentee ballots are still being counted. In previous years, Michigan had to wait until election day to start counting absentee ballots. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed a law that allowed certain cities to process ballots for 10 hours on Nov. 2.
Benson said, “We are going to count every vote in the state of Michigan no matter how long it takes.” She asked for patience and said that she would give updates as data comes in. Counties across Michigan put their data into the state’s database as they get more information.
She went in more detail about how her administration prepared for this election for the last two years. They strengthened security and used data driven practices, allocated physical and financial resources to clerks, implemented voter education resources and did outreach in places where voter turnout is low.
During her speech, Benson recognized Ingham County Clerk Barb Byrum who worked with clerks in Ingham county to make sure ballots arrived on time. She also recognized Oakland County Clerk and Register of Deeds Lisa Brown who organized a centralized absentee counting board to help cities like southfield and Pontiac that don’t have high speed equipment to count ballots.
Benson said that she will focus on the facts and not make any predictions about any races. She said, “ While it is possible there will be races or ballot questions where results even with minimal returns are clear, our vigilance will be critical in any question of a close race.”
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