Secretary of State attempting to get in front of misinformation as Michigan, Detroit prepare for midterms

Both the city of Detroit and Michigan secretary of state said they were confident in the operations of the upcoming November midterm election, with Sec. Jocelyn Benson expecting the 2022 race drive some of the highest turnout of any midterm race.

Already 1.3 million ballots had been returned to clerks and another 3 million are expected to arrive as either absentee or in-person votes. 

"The vast majority if not all will have a calm smooth experience in doing so," Benson said. "I'm confident in this because election officials and law enforcement are more prepared than ever before to immediately address any attempt to interfere or disrupt the elections process or intimidate voters, and they will work with us to ensure all voters are safe and their rights are protected."

Learn more about elections from the SOS website.

While Michigan has pre-processing options available to clerks, no ballot returned early will be counted before the polls open on Nov. 8. Because of that, Benson said it could take up to 24 hours before all ballots are tallied and an unofficial vote total is recorded.

If you see voter intimidation, you can contact the national non-partisan voter protection hotline at 866-OUR-VOTE.

Check out more 2022 election coverage here.

Detroit city preps for election day

Detroit plans to have the majority of absentee ballots counted within hours of polls closing on Nov. 8, the city's election administrator said Thursday.

Daniel Baxter, who will be working from the Department of Elections next Tuesday, said the city anticipates it will have received 60,000 absentee ballots that will be pre-processed ahead of election day. After polls open, those ballots will be inserted into the tabulator for counting.

"We're hoping that between 9 and 10 p.m., you'll have the lions share of all votes cast in the city of Detroit," Baxter said. "At least 60,000 absentee ballots and 60% of precincts."

Janice Winfrey, the Detroit City Clerk said she's expecting a total turnout of between 28 and 33% in Detroit. An extra 15-18,000 absentee ballots are expected after the original 60,000. 

MORE: Michigan election day guide and results for Nov. 8, 2022

The city also has 4,000 poll workers trained to process ballots at both the local precincts and at the Huntington Center.

‘Meritless lawsuits’ beginning of misinformation 

It's during the period of time when polls close and unofficial votes are being counted that voters should be vigilant of misinformation, Benson said. 

In 2020 as absentee ballots were being counted for the city of Detroit, crowds formed around the then-named TCF Center and attempted to gain access inside. Due to the abundance of mail-in ballots that were sent in during the presidential race, poll workers were left counting ballots through the night and for most of the next day. 

Benson said it's likely a similar procedure will take place this year and that voters need to be ready for accusations of voter fraud. 

"Voters should be wary of the likelihood that some bad actors will seize on this time and space between when the polls close and the unofficial results are announced to spread misinformation about the security of the tabulation process and preemptively attempt to declare results," she said.

Benson referenced ‘meritless lawsuits’ designed to get attention and sow doubt in the electoral process that will resurface following the end of election day.

"Judges will resolve these suits based on evidence and in accordance with the law, but voters should also be wary of the seeds of doubt these lawsuits seek to plant and expect them to resurface after the election."

1.1 million Michigan votes already cast week before midterm election

Nearly 2 million absentee ballots have already been requested for the midterms - a 73% increase from 2018.