Michigan and the 2020 election: What we know so far

With polls in Michigan closed for nine hours, there's a lot still a lot that needs to be determined with so many of the state's high caliber races too close to call.

But, that doesn't mean election officials don't have some idea of the electoral picture that is being painted in Michigan. With 96% of the total vote being counted as of 11 a.m., Joe Biden led Donald Trump by less than a point. 

The race is currently seeing a wave of absentee ballots getting reported. Wayne County remains the county where the majority of those ballots will be coming from.

"I think we'll have a much clearer picture of Michigan's full-count tomorrow evening," said Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson early Wednesday morning. "We know it's been a very slow process in some areas, particularly in Macomb so we're mindful of that. We're just trying to give everyone space right now because we don't want to pressure them to move too quickly - that's when mistakes can occur. We want accuracy to be our priority so we're letting people take their time, we're letting people work through the process securely"

High turnout in Detroit with state implications

In Detroit, the city could see its highest turnout in decades with City Clerk Janice Winfrey projecting between 53-55% turnout - several points higher than her initial estimate a week ago.

Biden held comfortable leads in Michigan's most populous counties, like Wayne and Oakland, while Trump continued performing strongly in Macomb County - Michigan's bellwether county for many elections.

Depending on how Southeast Michigan ballots look as more are reported, it could sway the state toward Biden or keep it in Trump's corner. The implications of the turnout will certainly ripple across a still-uncertain electoral race that Biden held a narrow lead as of Wednesday morning.

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"Right now, all across the state, thousands of election workers are methodically and securely tabulating votes and that's the bottom line. I know everyone's anxious to get results in but in Michigan, it's going to take us at least another 24 hours before we're able to tabulate every other vote," said Benson.

A similar race was forming out of Michigan's other partisan statewide race, where Republican John James is leading Democrat Gary Peters by an equally small margin; 2,519,881 to 2,507,305 votes. James, who is challenging Peters in his second senatorial campaign in two years, had a 250,000 vote lead by early Wednesday morning.

But again, many see the fates of James and Peters tied to the successes of Trump and Biden. It's likely that whoever overperforms in Wayne and Oakland County will be declaring victory.

Competitive (and not-so competitive) House races down to the wire

In what's turned into two surprisingly competitive races, freshman Democrats Elissa Slotkin and Haley Stevens from Michigan's 8th and 11th districts respectively found themselves fending off spirited vote totals from their Republican challengers.

In the 8th District, challenger Paul Junge held less than a 3 point lead on Slotkin with 78% of precincts reporting early Wednesday before Slotkin pulled ahead by about 15,000 votes. Slotkin, a centrist politician who flipped the district blue in 2018, was largely seen as one of the Democratic party's best opportunities to hold onto a slightly-conservative seat. 

The gap was wider for Stevens, who trailed her opponent Eric Esshaki by more than 3 points. The result of this race is less known, however, with 66% of precincts reporting.

Stevens was expected to perform strongly in the 11th District, where she had taken a commanding lead the last time she ran and won in 2018.

While media projections arrived later than many would have expected, the Democratic bastion of progressive representatives in Detroit and in surrounding areas held together.

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Reps. Andy Levin (9th District), Debbie Dingell (12th), Rashida Tlaib (13th), and Brenda Lawrence (14th) all were expected to win by the Associated Press, which sent out a flurry of projections early Wednesday morning. All four had comfortable margins by 5 a.m.

Michigan is also welcoming a new member to Congress after Republican Lisa McClain soundly won the 10th District.

A good day for ballot proposals

Both of Michigan's ballot proposals had a good showing on election day, with Prop 1 and Prop 2 scoring an overwhelmingly large victory.

On Prop 1, which would reallocate money the state earns from oil and gas leases into Michigan's park restoration fund, it earned more than 80% of the vote with 74% of of precincts reporting.

On Prop 2, which would require law enforcement to obtain a search warrant to observe someone's electronic records, the margin of victory was even higher.

At last check, Detroit's Proposal N was also showing healthy margins of victory.