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Michigan Secretary of State warns it could take 80 hours for election results

Published: Oct. 29, 2020 at 6:01 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Voters may have to wait until the Friday after Election Day to find out who won in Michigan. Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson told News 10 on Thursday that this is because of the enormous number of mail-in ballots.

State law doesn’t allow clerks to start counting absentee ballots until the day before the election. It seems that the 10 additional hours allowed under state law won’t solve the problem.

“It may take about 80 hours statewide for us to tabulate all those votes. Because in the past when we had half that amount of what we’re expecting, it took about 40 hours,” she said.

Benson says approximately 2.4 million absentee ballots have been accounted for. But around 800,000 haven’t been turned in.

“We’re seeing about 100 to 200 thousand returned per day,” said Benson. “We’re about 70 percent right now, return rate a little bit more than that. Typically, the day before the election you’re at 50 or 60 percent return rate. We’re further ahead than we would typically be.”

President Donald Trump has been vocal about his concerns of mail-in voting.

“This is going to be a fraud like you’ve never seen,” he said.

But Benson says there is no chance for people to double vote.

“Our system is very secure and only one ballot is counted for each person. We have a qualified voter file that verifies everyone’s vote. And, once a ballot comes in, it is marked as received.”

The state has added 30,000 more poll workers to help count ballots this year. They’re even on standby if another poll worker backs out late because of COVID-19.

Poll workers will be required to test negative ahead of the election and will be given personal protective equipment to wear.

The governor and Secretary of State are urging voters to wear masks when they go to the polls.

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