Biden projected to win tight race in Michigan in 2020 election

Wednesday, November 4, 2020 - 4:23pm

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Becca Mahon/Daily

Joe Biden has been declared the winner of Michigan’s 16 electoral college votes, according to the Associated Press. The state is crucial to Biden’s path to the White House in his effort to oust President Donald Trump and win the election. 

The call was announced nearly 24 hours after polling locations closed, with various media outlets including CNN and The New York Times projecting him as the winner. 

Biden delivered remarks Wednesday afternoon at the Chase Center in Wilmington, Del., the same place he accepted the Democratic nomination for president in August. He said he expected to be declared the winner after votes were counted. 

“I’m not here to declare that we’ve won, but I am here to report that when the count is finished, we believe we will be the winners,” Biden said.

Shortly before the projections were announced, Trump’s campaign filed a lawsuit in the Michigan Court of Claims to stop the state from counting ballots. 

“As votes in Michigan continue to be counted, the presidential race in the state remains extremely tight as we always knew it would be,” Bill Stepien, Trump’s campaign manager, wrote in a statement. “President Trump’s campaign has not been provided with meaningful access to numerous counting locations to observe the opening of ballots and the counting process, as guaranteed by Michigan law.”

In a tweet Wednesday, Trump declared he had won Michigan, despite projections to the contrary. Twitter flagged several of the president’s posts for containing incorrect information about the election. 

At a press conference Wednesday, Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson defended the integrity of the state’s ballot-counting process.

“We’ve got clear protocols, secure protocols in place to tabulate those votes and to continue to report out that data as they become publishable,” Benson said. “We stand by the process … We’re very familiar with the process and the legality of our process and have great confidence in it, and we’re ready to defend it.”

According to the Detroit Free Press, a crowd of Trump supporters gathered outside of the tally room of the TCF Center in Detroit on Wednesday, shouting “stop the count” and “let us in.” 

In a tweet Wednesday, Regent Jordan Acker (D) called the scene “a deliberate attempt to try to steal the election.” 

A group of students from the University’s chapter of College Republicans waited outside of the TCF Center but wrote in a tweet they could not enter as “poll watchers” due to “COVID capacity limits.”

Our team is waiting outside and will do our part to protect our essential part of democracy,” the tweet reads. 

Andrew Schaeffler, LSA sophomore and co-founder of Students for Biden at the University, said he was ecstatic about the projection. 

“I’m definitely extremely, extremely excited to hear that call,” Schaeffler said. “I have been jumping up and down throughout the house.”

He added that he was still cautious about the overall state of the race, given several states that still had to finish counting votes. 

“I’m gonna knock on wood right now, but I think that we’re gonna end up winning Nevada by at least three or four percentage points, (and) still maintain about the same margin in Arizona,” Schaeffler said.

In a previous interview with The Daily, LSA sophomore Nick Schuler, vice president of the University’s chapter of College Republicans, said the outcome of the election would not have much of a personal impact on him. 

“I’m not gonna react too strongly either way,” Schuler said. “Whoever is the president at the current time doesn’t define my life as it appears to for a lot of people. It’s obviously very important, but I don’t let it define my life or define my mood.”

Trump’s victory in 2016 — when he won with the slimmest margin of victory of any state by just over 10,000 votes — turned Michigan into a contentious battleground.

Biden held multiple events in Michigan in the days prior to the election, including a rally on Belle Isle in Detroit while Trump barnstormed across Michigan in the days leading up to the election. 2016 Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton faced widespread criticism for not visiting the state enough leading up to the election. 

According to FiveThirtyEight, Biden was polling ahead of Trump going into Election Day, but the race ended up being a tight one.

The projections come after extensive concern from voters and politicians alike that an increase in mail-in voting and voter turnout would delay election outcomes. In Michigan, a record number of approximately 3 million ballots were cast prior to Election Day. 

Other Democrats on the ballot also secured their positions, with Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Mich., and state Rep. Yousef Rabhi, D-Ann Arbor, getting reelected.

Daily Staff Reporter Julia Forrest can be reached at juforres@umich.edu.


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