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Election officials: Ballot processing, results could take days after Nov. 3

They predict full results may not be available until that Friday
Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson’s Office is urging voters to be patient once polls...
Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson’s Office is urging voters to be patient once polls close election night.(WJRT)
Published: Oct. 22, 2020 at 5:30 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WJRT) - Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson’s Office is urging voters to be patient once polls close election night.

Because of the unprecedented number of absentee ballots to be processed with this year’s election – results are likely to take days following election day.

“Four years ago, we had about 7,500 total voters in Hamtramck show up at the polls, and I had 800 absentee ballots. I already have 5,500 ballots out and 3,000 back,” said Hamtramck City Clerk August Gitschlag.

Gitschlag, in a news conference with election officials across the state Thursday, told voters to have patience on election night and that results will not be finalized that night either.

“In other states like Florida, they start counting the ballots as soon as they hit the window. They run them through. We don’t do that. They sit until election day, so all that counting is done election day, so that’s where it could take some time,” Gitschlag said.

There’s more to counting a ballot than just putting it through a machine.

“They have to be removed from the envelopes, they have to be straightened out, and prepared to go into the tabulators, you have to flatten the ballots out,” said Heaster Wheeler, assistant Michigan secretary of state.

By election day, 8 million voters are projected to be registered in the state. About 5.5 million voters are expected to vote in the upcoming election and 3 million voters have requested absentee ballots already. So far, 1.8 million of those ballots have been returned.

So what kind of timeline might you expect for complete results?

“We’ll likely take 80 hours. We’re asking the public to be prepared. Friday, Nov. 6 is likely to be the day we have 100% accuracy,” Wheeler said.

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