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Michigan Primary Election turnout greater than expected

Posted at 5:10 PM, Mar 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-10 18:33:54-04

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan polls are open until 8 p.m. Tuesday during the Presidential Primary.

Fox 47's Kellan Buddy said there are a lot more voters this year, which was also a trend seen last week around the nation for Super Tuesday.

In East Lansing, Michigan State University students lined up to cast their ballot and make their voices heard. Several students also registered to vote.

As of 4:30 p.m., the Michigan Department of State told Fox 47 there were 7,198 same-day registrations in the state of Michigan.

Lansing City Clerk Chris Swope said he's seen the same thing, a bigger amount of voters than expected. Whether they are voting in person or voting absentee, Swope said it's a good thing the clerk's office is so busy.

"I think people are interested in the election and want to make their choices are heard and known. We've seen, in the City of Lansing, more than double the absentee voters from four years ago. Between that and Election Day, we could see a big increase in turnout," Swope said.

The increase in absentee ballots comes from Proposal Three voted on back in the 2018 elections, which made it possible to cast an absentee ballot up until the polls close. The Michigan Department of State said more than 804,000 absentee ballots are expected to be cast, 993,000 were requested.

"We have a high-speed scanner so we're running the ballots through, and it takes a lot to process. There's a lot of steps, it takes a lot of people and it's a big process. We're trying to get through it," Swope said.

In addition to making sure things run smoothly, election workers are also making sure polling locations remain clean amidst coronavirus concerns.

Swope said officials have been stocking up on cleaning supplies. He said they wanted to get out in front of any concerns of dirty surfaces.

"We had a hard time finding it, but we did get some hand sanitizer and some disinfecting wipes for our polling places. We got recommendation from the health folks that we should be wiping down hard surfaces every two or three hours," Swope said.

Swope said he hopes all the ballots can be counted by 10 or 11 p.m., however, the Michigan Department of State said final results for all jurisdictions aren't expected to come until early afternoon Wednesday.

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