Michigan, a crucial swing state in Tuesday’s election, will likely have election results by Friday, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said at a press conference Monday afternoon. 

State and local officials have repeatedly cautioned residents not to expect final tallies on Tuesday night, noting that counting mail-in ballots will be a time-intensive process. 

Benson used the August primary election — in which 1.6 million mail-in ballots were received — as a reference point for the general election, saying it took about 40 hours to count all ballots. She said the state is on track to receive about 3 million mail-in ballots for the general election and forecasted that it would take about 80 hours to properly tabulate them all, meaning final tallies could be expected on Friday.

“Some jurisdictions may report their full unofficial results sooner and that’s great,” Benson said. “We welcome that, and from the moment the polls closed until the moment that full unofficial statewide tabulation is complete, we will continue to update all of you and the public and the nation as to where we are in the process.” 

Benson emphasized that this election is not significantly different from other years.

“To ensure every ballot is counted accurately, that takes time,” Benson said. “In Michigan, our election workers count absentee ballots in pairs, one Republican and one Democrat, to ensure there’s no political bias and that every ballot is counted fairly. This takes time, it always has.” 

Benson said the goal of the process is to ensure the results reported by the state are an accurate reflection of the will of the voters. 

Tensions are running high regarding the election. A study released in October noted that Michigan was one of five states at high risk of experiencing election-related upheaval. 

In a joint statement, U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell D-Mich. and local law enforcement agencies addressed growing fears of civil unrest.

“While there are currently no known threats related to election integrity, polling location safety, or community safety post-election, Washtenaw County leaders want to assure residents that we are working with each other and our federal and state colleagues, to do everything we can to plan for and ensure the safety of everyone in our community,” the release read. 

The statement highlighted efforts to combat voter intimidation, noting that local authorities were working to develop risk mitigation and response protocols to protect voter safety.

The release also stated that local governments have taken measures to guarantee the community’s safety while protecting those who choose to peacefully exercise their First Amendment rights.

“Local law enforcement leaders in consultation with the municipal and township elected/appointed leaders have developed strategies that support post-election community safety,” the release read. “These efforts include measures to protect members of the public who choose to peacefully exercise their first amendment rights.”

Daily Staff Reporter Sarah Payne can be reached at paynsm@umich.edu

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