The electoral fight for Michigan ends as COVID-19 skyrockets to record-high

It was all quiet in front of the TCF Center in downtown Detroit Thursday morning. But for a moment Wednesday afternoon, with ballots being counted inside and protesters alleging fraud outside, the motor city and Michigan was the center of the political world this 2020 election cycle.

With absentee votes being tabulated throughout the morning and President Donald Trump's lead in the state shrinking, it became clear the 160,000 ballots that would be processed in Detroit would be a key factor in which direction Michigan's 16 electoral votes would go. 

By 6 p.m., several media organizations had called the state for Biden. But that didn't stop the protests outside or a Trump campaign lawsuit seeking to stop the ballots from further being counted.

At the heart of the lawsuit, Trump believes there was a lack of access for Republican challengers to oversee counting locations within the TCF Center. Emboldened by the litigation, several supporters of the president traveled to the counting center to try and cease all further counting.

As chants of "Stop the vote" rang, Detroit police began stepping up security in preparation for further escalation, although it never would. Contrary to accusations from the Trump campaign, Republican poll challengers were in the TCF Center throughout the vote count while ballots were processed and counted alongside people of both political affiliations.

Michigan's Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson dismissed the lawsuit as frivolous after the state had concluded vote tabulation around 10 p.m.

"Twenty-four hours after the polls closed in Michigan and I am pleased to announce that in Michigan the process of tabulation is by in large complete," she said. "Our system is secure, accurate, and anyone who tells you otherwise is attacking our Democracy or unhappy with the results."

After the dust settled, Biden held 2,787544 votes to Trump's 2,657,173 - a margin not quite as close as in 2016. 

Gary Peters also pulled out a win in his reelection campaign for Senate by a similar margin. After a closer-than-anticipated race, Peters had won 2,718,451 votes to Republican John James 2,630,042.

Republicans saw Michigan as a dark horse to increase their footing in the Senate and bolster their majority. Like Trump, James held a strong lead throughout most of the vote counting. But once absentee ballots were tabulating, that margin of votes shrunk.

By 9 p.m., Peters was projected to be the winner.

"I am sincerely honored that the voters of Michigan have once again put their trust and confidence in me to represent them in the United States Senate," he said. "As we look ahead, I am energized to keep working to move our state forward and continue putting Michigan first.

Much like the partisan split in the country, residents will likely find a similar divide among regions in Michigan. Trump and James handily won in rural counties. But when it came to counties with cities and large metropolitan areas, Biden and Peters scored big:

  • Wayne County: Biden won 68% of the vote. Trump won 30.6% 
  • Oakland County: Biden won 56.4% of the vote. Trump won 42.2%
  • Washtenaw County: Biden won 72.6% of the vote. Trump won 26% 

While Biden was expected to win these regions, it's Macomb County where he needed to overperform if he wanted a good shot at winning. It wasn't likely Biden would win the county as Trump won big there in 2016. 

In 2020, Biden scored a few points better which likely would factor into Michigan's total vote count. In a race with a record-breaking turnout where 5.2 million votes were cast and the margin for winning was as small as it ended up being, a few points could have been all that decided the state.

Coronavirus comes back swinging

Amid another news-heavy week of 2020, people can be forgiven for missing the other important story of the day: COVID-19 cases.

On Wednesday, Michigan health officials reported 4,101 cases. It's the most cases ever reported in a single 24-hour period in Michigan. After spending spring and summer working to push cases down to safe levels in April, numbers have risen and buoyed themselves around 1,000 a day.

Then in October, the pandemic flipped a switch and began spreading faster than ever before.

Compared to the unmitigated spread identified in March, October and November's case rates far exceed anything Michigan has ever seen before.

So far, deaths and hospitalizations haven't followed - although fatalities linked to the virus have ticked up slightly, with several of the daily stat lines being attributed to vital records' reviews. 

But as state health officials are aware, there is typically a lag between behavior changes and shifts in COVID-19 transmission. There will also likely be an increase in hospitalizations with such uncontrolled spread, as past spikes have shown.

Man shot dead by Detroit police was released from crisis center

Detroit police are still investigating the fatal shooting of a man by an officer after the suspect had fired on police Wednesday morning.

Details of the man trickled out after reports of his death earlier in the day. Prior to the shooting, 

The man, who has been identified as Mosa, had just been released from a crisis center he checked himself into. However, a man who had picked up Mosa from the center later in the day said the man couldn't get any help.

"I said, 'Are you ok?' He says, 'No. I'm having some issues and they will not help me.'"

The man would later fire shots into a home before police responded. When he fled, he fired on the police. An officer return-fired striking the man.

He was later declared dead.

Other Stories

1. Michigan voters overwhelmingly approve proposal 2 on search warrant for electronic data
2. Detroit Lions place Matthew Stafford on the Reserve/COVID-19 list
3. Michigan Rep. Slotkin holds on to win 8th District, beating Republican Paul Junge
4. 2 kids, 1 adult hurt when ATV crashed into home in Shelby Twp.

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Daily Forecast

People can expect warm temperatures until Monday, where a forecast of 70 degrees is expected on three of those days. For Thursday, expect a high of 67 degrees and mildly cloudy conditions. 

‘We are not enemies’: Biden calls for unity as 2020 election count continues

Shortly after presidential hopeful Joe Biden won Wisconsin, the Democratic nominee spoke in front of supporters in Delaware where he stopped short of declaring victory, but expressed confidence that he would win the 2020 election once the votes were fully tabulated. 

"After a long night of counting, it is clear that we are winning enough states to reach 270 votes to reach the presidency," Biden said.

“Democracy is the heartbeat of this nation," Biden continued, lauding high turnout among voters.

Biden added that once the election is finalized, it will be time "to put the harsh rhetoric of the campaign behind us, lower the temperature, to see each other again, to listen to one another, to hear one another and respect and care for one another."