Michigan heading for historic election turnout with almost 3 million ballots already cast

Like several other states in the U.S., Michigan is reporting impressive early voting numbers, with almost 3 million ballots being cast.

According to early voting data from the Michigan Secretary of State, 2.9 million residents have already submitted their vote for the general election day.

While estimates from Secretary Jocelyn Benson put Michigan's forecasted total vote at around 5 million, residents won't know for several days just how many people will cast their ballot.

What is clear is compared to 2016 and 2018 advance returns, the 2020 general election's early vote count is more than double both previous cycles, according to the Associated Press.

A review of election data provided by the Secretary of State by FOX 2 shows early vote totals in Oakland and Wayne County nearing 500,000 as of Nov. 2 - the two highest totals of any in the state.

Here is a breakdown of early voting totals in Metro Detroit counties

Both the state department and the state legislature have taken steps to account for what was already expected to be a higher turnout among absentee voters. Due to COVID-19, election officials spent much of the summer promoting mail-in ballots as an alternative to voting in person.

The state legislature also passed a temporary law allowing for absentee ballots to be processed and prepared for counting a day earlier - a process that began at 10 a.m. Monday.

RELATED: "We are prepared for 100%" Detroit voting officials ready up for busy election day

While Michigan's early vote trends represent a departure from regular voting behavior in previous years, it's not an unusual sight for this election cycle. So far, 95 million ballots have been cast in the 2020 general election - more than two-thirds of the number of votes cast for the 2016 election.

Election experts believe between 150-160 million ballots will be cast in 2020. 

Michigan's voter turnout record was set in 2008 when 5.04 million voters cast a ballot in the presidential election - about 66.2% of registered voters at the time. This year, more than 8 million residents have registered to vote.