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Here's how ballots will be counted in Michigan on Election Day

Here's how ballots will be counted in Michigan on Election Day
Posted at 5:03 PM, Nov 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-02 17:03:37-05
(WXYZ) —

All eyes are on Michigan as a swing state that could decide who will spend the next four years in the White House.

Although there were issues with ballot counting in the August primary election, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson says those problems have been solved.

Staff will be on-site overseeing counts across the state; there will be 2,000 extra poll workers on standby in case any precinct needs extra help.

So, what happens to your ballot once it's received? Benson says it's a meticulous process that requires thousands of people across the state.

"Once a ballot is received, the signature is checked, it's opened, flattened, sorted into the correct precinct then put through the tabulator."

So far, of the 3.3 absentee ballots requested, 2.9 million have been returned. Each ballot is recorded in a poll book and then put into a tabulation machine one by one.

"We have, in many places, doubled or tripled the number of high-speed ballot tabulators and other equipment on hand," Benson said.

So who exactly is handling your ballots?

"In Michigan, our election workers count absentee ballots in pairs, one Republican, one Democrat, to ensure there is no political bias and ensure that every ballot is counted fairly," Benson said.

Ballots can be challenged and likely will, but what if challengers take it too far?

"It's kind of iffy, but I trust that everything will go as smooth as possible," Benson said.

Voter intimidation will be prosecuted, Benson says, and there are many checks and balances in place to ensure accuracy. With more absentee voters than ever before, results may not be available until Friday.

"What it takes is time and patience," she said. "And at the end, the public can be sure of the results announced when there is a full tabulation that it will be an accurate reflection of the will of the people."

Benson says her biggest concern is misinformation being spread online, including doctored photos and fake videos. She is asking precincts to alert the Secretary of State immediately if there are any issues so they can quickly verify or debunk every rumor. They will continually update http://Michigan.gov/electionsecurity with info on the rumors and whether or not they are true.