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WXMI: Vote Counting Typically Extends Past Election Day

This year, people are noticing, because while the count almost always takes a few days to finish, a projected winner is usually called sooner.
Posted at 6:24 AM, Nov 05, 2020

Its an historic election. But the counting process isn't exactly making history. 

"What’s going on today, is the relatively normal playing out of the vote counting in a bunch of states after a presidential election,” said Richard Primus, a constitutional law professor at the University of Michigan. 

These are the absentee ballots in Kent County as they're being processed. We don't get to record video of them counting them for real to protect your privacy.

"In some states, the votes are all counted pretty quickly," Primus said. 

Michigan isn't one of those states.

A heavy absentee ballot turnout means clerks are working on making sure every vote is still counted, which isn't unusual. 

"In normal years, states would still be counting the votes, a day, two days, three days after the election," said Primus. "Most of the time, we just wouldn't notice," 

This year, people are noticing, because while the count almost always takes a few days to finish, a projected winner is usually called sooner.

"Suppose you’re watching a basketball game. One team is up by 30 points. You can turn the game off, with five minutes to go, and go to bed, and be pretty sure who won the game," said Primus. "In the arena, they still have to play the last five minutes and the baskets still count."