Advance Notice: Briefs

After Michigan shatters midterm election turnout record, canvas of results begins

By: - November 10, 2022 3:26 pm

Sign outside Ann Arbor polling place, Nov. 8, 2022 | Laina G. Stebbins

Michigan saw 4.47 million voters cast ballots in Tuesday’s election, according to unofficial results — a record-breaking result.

The previous record for a midterm election was 4.34 million votes cast in the 2018 contest.

With the reporting complete of nearly all unofficial results from the general election, Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said the canvassing process to finalize the results would begin.  

“Thousands of Republican, Democratic and independent election clerks and workers securely counted ballots through the day and night to provide Michigan voters their unofficial election results as quickly as possible,” said Benson. “In the days ahead, clerks will now tirelessly dedicate themselves to canvassing their elections to confirm their accuracy before certification, demonstrating again their commitment to the integrity of Michigan elections and our democracy.”

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson in Detroit on Nov. 5, 2022 | Ken Coleman

State law requires the bipartisan board of canvassers in each of Michigan’s 83 counties to begin canvassing the unofficial results from their jurisdictions by Thursday. That process is assisted by county clerks and their staffs, working in tandem with city and township clerks.

Election results must be certified by Nov. 22 at the county level, with the bipartisan Board of State Canvassers needing to do the same by Nov. 28.

If any recounts are needed, either because they are required or have been requested by candidates, they would take place after the canvasses are complete and the election has been certified.

Under Michigan law, the role of canvassers is ministerial with canvassers at the county and state level required to certify. 

That issue came front and center after the 2020 election when Monica Palmer and William Hartmann, the two Republicans on the Wayne County canvassing board, signed affidavits to rescind their certification votes after then-President Trump called Palmer following an initial vote to certify. State election officials said there was no legal process to allow that.

Biden won Wayne County by 68% to Trump’s 31%, with a more than 154,000 vote victory margin statewide.

Benson said her office is releasing a video that explains the process.

“Election canvasses are one of the many checks within Michigan elections that bolster integrity and ensure accuracy, and they are capped by bipartisan certification,” said Benson. “I am committed to seeing this process through to certification, and to following it with thorough post-election audits to provide even more transparency, identify best practices for future elections, and affirm voters’ well-placed faith in our democracy.”


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Jon King
Jon King

Jon King has been a journalist for more than 35 years. He is the Past President of the Michigan Associated Press Media Editors Association and has been recognized for excellence numerous times, most recently in 2021 with the Best Investigative Story by the Michigan Association of Broadcasters. He is also an adjunct faculty member at Cleary University. Jon and his family live in Howell, where he also serves on the Board of Directors for the Livingston Diversity Council.