Benson touts ‘smooth Election Day’ for Michigan primary 

Secretary of State says no major incidents were reported as the polls closed on Tuesday.  

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson is celebrating what she calls a safe and secure primary Election Day.

Outside of an incident in Inkster, where polling locations opened without electronic poll books to verify voters, Benson says there were no major issues reported to her office during Tuesday’s elections. She says officials worked with nonpartisan groups to address that problem quickly along with other minor concerns that popped up around the state.

“There were no disturbances throughout the day, which I am very grateful for,” Benson says. “This was as it was in 2020, a smooth Election Day.”

A poll worker is trained at Huntington Place ahead of the August primary elections.

Axios Detroit reported a Republican poll challenger was removed from Huntington Place for “harassing and agitating” workers. Detroit poll workers watched closely for irregularities during Tuesday’s primary election. They showed additional vigilance in the aftermath of the 2020 presidential election when Trump supporters raised questions about the accuracy of election results and demonstrated at Detroit’s convention center where ballots were being counted. In Linden, a suspicious package at a polling place caused delays.

Benson says her office had not heard of any unscheduled polling location changes in Detroit this year, an issue that has periodically occurred in the city. She says there were no reported threats or arrests made due to election interference.

As for election reporting, a technological problem caused the reporting of results in Wayne County to be delayed until the early morning hours. The Wayne County Clerk issued a statement saying AT&T’s decision to no longer support 3G modems significantly delayed the reporting process. Election tallies had to be physically moved from jurisdictions to county clerk offices.

Officials with Michigan’s Secretary of State say 70 counties are in the process of or have already phased out the use of modems to relay election results, per guidance by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission.

“Obviously, it takes longer to drive election results physically from jurisdictions to county clerk offices, delaying the reporting of unofficial polling place results by the counties,” wrote Tracy Wimmer, a spokesperson for Secretary of State Benson. “However, in many counties, absentee ballot counting boards continue to count absentee ballots, where as many as half the ballots in those jurisdictions’ elections were cast via absentee. Polling place results that have been tabulated have been posted on the doors of polling places across the state and are available for public viewing.”

Benson says 1,600 clerks in Michigan are administrating the state’s elections and thousands of election workers.

The vote tallies are still unofficial. Benson says various bipartisan boards will work to check the veracity of the election, and then certify the results.

“I want to remind everyone that during this canvass process, it is common for vote tallies to sometimes change.”

In 2020, perceived voting tally changes were tied to false claims of election fraud. The January 6th Congressional Committee says those were lies, amplified by then-President Trump, to overturn the results of the presidential election that year.

An emerging trend in recent elections

The state received more than 1.1 million absentee ballots during the primary election. Benson says she expects all the votes will be counted Wednesday. Benson says there is an emerging trend in recent elections.

“It seems even as the pandemic is in its waning stages, citizens are still choosing to vote from home, vote absentee and as result, we will continue to ensure that their right to do so will be protected and easily accessible to everyone.”

Benson says 3,000 people registered to vote on Election Day.

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  • Eli Newman
    Eli Newman is a Reporter/Producer for 101.9 WDET, covering breaking news, politics and community affairs. His favorite Motown track is “It’s The Same Old Song” by the Four Tops.