With Michigan expecting record-breaking voter turnout in this year’s presidential election, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is again reminding voters that it is going to take a while to count ballots cast in the Tuesday, Nov. 3 general election.
During an appearance Sunday morning on CNN’s State of the Union, she also warned residents not to accept any early declarations of victory by President Donald Trump before the count of all ballots is completed.
“I think that’s a very real possibility,” she told Tapper. “That’s why we’re trying to make sure everyone in the press understands, the volume of votes that are coming in is like nothing we’ve ever seen before, and it is going to take time to count. It’s more important that we get a count that’s accurate than a count that is fast.”
Michigan’s Bureau of Elections Director Jonathan Brater has previously estimated that due to possible record turnout, the final count may not be ready until Friday.
Tapper interviewed two other Democratic governors, Wisconsin’s Tony Evers and Pennsylvania’s Tom Wolf, along with Whitmer on Sunday, Nov. 1.
Tapper asked Whitmer if former vice president and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden had done enough in Michigan to secure a victory Tuesday, and she said Democrats, Independents and even some Republicans such as former Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder are openly supporting Biden.
“It’s been four years of a presidency only for those who agree with (Trump),” Whitmer told Tapper. “We need a president who’s going to be president for all Americans, and not look at states based on the color-coding of a map but understand that they are the leader for everyone in this country. I’m grateful that Joe Biden and Barack Obama were here yesterday, and I had time to spend with them, and people are excited.”
“It’s been four years of a presidency only for those who agree with (Trump),” she said. “We need a president who’s going to be president for all Americans, and not look at states based on the color-coding of a map, but understand that they are the leader for everyone in this country. I’m grateful that Joe Biden and Barack Obama were here yesterday, and I had time to spend with them, and people are excited.”
The previous record for voter turnout in Michigan was 5.3 million for President Barack Obama’s victory in 2008. Some election analysts have predicted a turnout of 6 million after voting records were smashed in the August primary.
As of last week, 3.25 million Michigan voters have requested absentee ballots, and 2.4 million have already been returned, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said Wednesday, Oct. 28.
Trump flipped Michigan by a narrow 10,704-vote margin in 2016. Democratic votes dropped by 295,730 compared to the previous presidential election.
Trump was campaigning in Michigan on Friday, Oct. 30 and is currently speaking in Macomb County. He has rallies planned in Grand Rapid and Traverse City on Monday, Nov. 3.
Whitmer’s CNN appearance featured stump statements for Biden, whom she praised for his and Obama’s appearance in Flint on Saturday.
Her confidence in Biden echoes her sentiments from her appearance on “Good Morning America” on Saturday, though she cautioned then that Democrats “are taking nothing for granted.”
Whitmer also repeated during the CNN segment her administration’s refrains that voting on Nov. 3 will be “safe and secure” from any voter intimidation.
“We have plenty of laws on the books that make it illegal to intimidate a voter,” she said. “We’re going to make sure that we keep people safe.”
One outstanding question for Michigan voters is whether or not people will be able to openly carry their guns at polling places.
Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson issued a directive Oct. 16 instructing local clerks to ban the open carry of guns at all polling places on Election Day, but a group of Michigan gun groups sued to invalidate it.
Court of Claims Chief Judge Christopher Murray granted a preliminary injunction Tuesday, Oct. 27 that gets rid of the ban for next week’s election, although the state has already moved to appeal that decision.
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said the litigation would be resolved ahead of Election Day and said the state would make polling place rules clear to voters, regardless of the final outcome, and ensure the polls are “safe and secure.”
“We are not expecting to have any problems at the polls,” she said. “This was really an additional precaution that the secretary decided to take based on the fact that…there were poll workers and clerks and voters that had voiced concerns.”
Nessel said there are currently no plans to station law enforcement at polling places, but noted they would be on standby in the event any issues arise. Some counties, such as Washtenaw, are deploying sheriff’s deputies to polling locations for additional security.