Michigan lawmakers battle over how to count ballots for presidential election

Record number of ballots expected

Michigan lawmakers battle over how to count ballots for presidential election

LANSING, Mich. – With a record number of ballots expected for the presidential election in November, the battle over how to count them is already underway in Lansing.

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said it could take until Friday after the election to get all the ballots counted, and that’s because of when the counting is allowed to begin.

Close to 3 million Michiganders are voting absentee, and a big in-person turnout is expected on Election Day.

Benson has been urging residents to vote early.

With a huge turnout comes the massive task of counting all the ballots, and right now, Benson isn’t optimistic the official results will be in for days.

In 2016, President Donald Trump won Michigan by just over 10,000 votes. All eyes were on Michigan, and the votes were counted, but 2020 could be a different story.

Unlike some other states, clerks in Michigan can’t start counting absentee ballots until Election Day. A bill has been introduced that would change the rule and give clerks essentially an extra day to prepare ballots.

Benson said that’s simply not enough.

“It’s a step in the right direction,” she said.

Sen. Pete Lucido is one of the backers of the bill. It’s on the way to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

Lucido’s bigger battle right now is another election controversy. Judge Cynthia Stephens ordered that ballots postmarked by the day before Election Day be eligible to be counted if they’re received within 14 days after the election.

Beyond the legal wrangling and political battles over votes, residents should vote early, if possible, to make sure their vote is counted. Drop boxes are in place at clerk’s offices, and you can track your ballot online to track any possible issues.

About the Authors:

Hank Winchester is Local 4's Consumer Investigative Reporter and the head of WDIV's "Help Me Hank" Consumer Unit. He works to solve consumer complaints, reveal important recalls and track down thieves who have ripped off metro Detroiters.

Derick is the Lead Digital Editor for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.