Election leaders estimate record-breaking turnout in Michigan

Less than a week until Michigan votes will start to be counted, Governor Gretchen Whitmer, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, and other state leaders discussed election day plans.

Whitmer was joined by her Lt. governor, Michigan's secretary of state and attorney general during a press conference Tuesday.

Making a bold prediction, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said Michigan could be on its way to its highest ever turnout for an election day.

"We're seeing record-breaking voter turnout in Michigan this year, more people voting absentee than ever before, and we're on track to see this record-breaking turnout under extraordinary circumstances with the pandemic, Michigan voters are going to show the country we overwhelmingly trust our election system," said Benson.

The secretary said 3.25 million people had requested a ballot and 2.4 million have already submitted their vote.

Michigan, like much of the rest of the country, is seeing early voting numbers, unlike recent presidential elections. Estimates of early voting totals nationwide find more than half of 2016's total vote count has already been tallied at state election polls.

This was the first time leaders have spoken since a Michigan Court of Claims ruled that Benson's directive to ban guns within 100 feet of polling locations on Election Day was illegal. The ruling was issued Tuesday before 5 p.m. and Wednesday morning, Benson's office has filed an appeal.

Three gun rights groups sued Benson, and on Monday, FOX 2 reported that Bob Stevenson, the head of the Michigan Association of Police Chiefs, said the order was probably not enforceable.

Early Wednesday morning, Attorney General Dana Nessel's team appealed the decision. She said they intend on wrapping up the case before election day.

Benson's office has urged all voters to either drop their ballots off at the local clerk's office, vote early in person or vote in person on Nov. 2. Benson began urging people to drop off their ballots on October 20, two weeks before Election Day, saying that's the best way to ensure your ballot is received in time.

Voters who have already submitted their ballots can still change their vote but the clock is ticking. 

According to the Secretary of State's Office, you have until 5 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 30, to change your vote by mail. If you would like a new ballot, you must sign a request and state you want a new ballot mailed to you or be picked up in person by that deadline.

However, you can also spoil it in person at your local clerk's office by 10 a.m. on Nov. 2. 

Lastly, if you have not yet submitted your ballot, you can return it and spoil it in person by 4 p.m. at your local clerk's office by 4 p.m. on Nov. 2.