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Benson thanks election officials and workers for smooth election, outlines next steps

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson thanked Michigan’s election officials and election workers for administering smooth and secure primary elections across the state, and described the steps to certify the results.
“I’m thankful to the more than 1,600 township, city and county clerks of Michigan, as well as their staff members and the thousands of election workers who signed up to serve and once again made Michigan’s elections among the most safe and secure in the nation,” said Benson at an evening press conference in Detroit. “Polling places statewide operated smoothly today, as did absentee ballot counting boards, many of which continue to count citizens’ votes as we speak, thanks to the efforts and integrity of our state’s election officials and workers.”
Benson said some absentee ballot counting boards would continue working into the night, as larger jurisdictions were likely still counting ballots received before today, and likely all jurisdictions received ballots in the last hours before 8 p.m., all of which needed to be verified at the clerk’s office before they could be transported to the counting board for processing and counting. The timing of the process can make it difficult if not impossible to call close races on election night, as is typically done in other states where absentee ballot preprocessing is allowed prior to Election Day. Benson and both the municipal and county clerk associations have asked the state Legislature to change Michigan’s laws to allow preprocessing.
Benson said she expected all valid ballots would be counted, and unofficial results would be available on Wednesday.
After unofficial results are released, election officials will shift their attention to election canvassing – whereby, over the course of a couple weeks, they review all election processes and results to confirm accuracy and correct clerical mistakes. The work is overseen by bipartisan boards of county canvassers, who will also conduct any recounts, and then certify the amended results. After they have done so, the Board of State Canvassers conducts its own review of the processes and accuracy of the elections, and then votes to certify its findings, and what are then the final and official results.
Benson reminded voters that vote tallies often change from the time they are released as unofficial results and the time they are certified as official, for example, after provisional ballots are confirmed valid and counted. She said this is a strength of Michigan’s robust election system, which has steps built in to ensure the accuracy of the final, official results. She also warned voters not to be misled by claims that such changes are evidence of wrongdoing.
“Michigan elections are carried out in accordance with state and federal law, and anyone who suggests otherwise is simply not being truthful,” said Benson. “Voters should be wary of any post-election shenanigans and claims of election malfeasance and turn to trusted, official sources of information for the truth – including their local and county clerk’s offices and the Michigan Department of State’s website and social media channels.”

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