Advance Notice: Briefs

Secretary of State says election results should be available within 24 hours of polls closing, warns about misinformation

By: - November 4, 2022 8:29 am

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Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson assured voters that the Tuesday election will be safe, secure and accurate while speaking at a press conference on Thursday. 

Voters can also expect to hear election results within 24 hours of polls closing, Benson said. This is due to the state law, which only allows limited processing of absentee ballots ahead of Election Day. Most Michigan polls close at 8 p.m. EST, but four counties in the western Upper Peninsula close at 9 p.m., as they are on central time.

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson in Detroit May 17, 2022 | Ken Coleman

“Throughout Election Day and after the polls close at 8 p.m. professional election administrators will be working to validate and tabulate every vote,” Benson said. “In doing so, they will rightly prioritize security, transparency and accuracy over speed.”

Voters should also be aware that some groups may use the time between polls close and the delivery of unofficial results to spread misinformation about the vote tabulating process and preemptively claim victory, Benson said. 

“Remember that only a full tabulation of every valid vote will determine the winner in any election contest,” she said. 

Benson also referenced lawsuits related to the election in Detroit and Flint, which she said are being used to cause confusion and sow doubt among voters. These lawsuits may resurface as misinformation following the election, Benson said. 

“No matter how many meritless challenges and lawsuits are filed, which party election workers come from, or if a citizen votes absentee or in person, the law is clear that citizens have the right to cast their ballot free from intimidation and election workers must count every valid vote in a nonpartisan and unbiased manner,” Benson said.

Ahead of the election, Benson’s office has been working with county, city and township clerks as well as law enforcement to ensure safety and security in the upcoming election. Benson’s office also made $8 million in grants available to clerks for election security, as well as a code of conduct for election workers to sign before their shifts. 

In a statement, Benson advised voters witnessing attempts to interfere with the election or to intimidate voters to contact their local clerk and call the National Voter Hotline at 866-OUR-VOTE. This will connect voters to people in Michigan working with the Michigan Department of State and other agencies to address issues immediately. 

Citizens who have not yet registered to vote may register and vote at their clerk’s office through Election Day. Polling places will be open from 7 a.m. through 8 p.m.Voters who have yet to complete their absentee ballot should complete it, sign the back of the envelope, and deliver it to their local clerk’s office of ballot drop box by 8 p.m. Tuesday, Benson said.

Detroit City Clerk Janice Winfrey held a news conference Thursday at Huntington Place, the city’s vote-counting headquarters. She predicted that turnout in Detroit will be about 28 to 30%. 

Asked whether she thinks GOP activists will use next week’s vote-counting process as a dress rehearsal for challenging 2024 presidential election results, Winfrey said, “I don’t know what GOP people feel like … I don’t know.”

Reporter Ken Coleman contributed to this story.

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Kyle Davidson
Kyle Davidson

Kyle Davidson was a reporting intern for the Michigan Advance. A recent MSU graduate, Kyle studied journalism and political science. He has reported on community events, breaking news, state policy, and the environment for outlets including the Lansing State Journal, the Detroit Free Press and Capital News Service.