KALAMAZOO, Mich. — As Americans await the results of the election, some areas in West Michigan finished counting its absentee ballots. The unofficial results are available here.
Election officials completed the count at Kalamazoo City Hall before 8:30pm Wednesday evening, but said there was a light at the end of the tunnel.
The county clerk said this year they received four times the number of absentee ballots than normal which is why it was taking so long.
In the presidential election of 2016, 25,000 absentee ballots were cast. Just this year alone, the city of Kalamazoo had around 21,000 ballots, and the city of Portage had around 19,000.
While the precincts in Kalamazoo County weren't too busy on Election Day, the county clerk said absentee ballots are what's holding up results in the city of Kalamazoo.
The delays are attributed to the sheer volume of absentee votes. They also encountered a number of ballots with rips and stains, which would have to be duplicated onto an entirely new ballot so that they could be read by the tabulator.
Another issue included voters filling in one bubble, crossing it out, and filling out a different bubble with their final choice. The tabulator also could not read those votes,
"Everything went beautifully. It was just the volume of the absentee ballots primarily. In the county, we had well over 91,000 that had to be counted, so it was a lot," said Kalamazoo County Clerk and Register of Deeds Tim Snow.
Challengers from both parties were present during the process. Of the results that have been tabulated, those were not yet reflected in election results online. They first need to be taken over to the county clerk before official results are released.
Election officials said they expected to finish counting them by the end of Wednesday.