WMUK Election 2020 Updates

Nov 3, 2020

Credit Emmanuel Wilson / WMUK

Check here for election updates Tuesday night, Wednesday morning and beyond. Election officials are saying that the high level of early voting will mean that complete results may not be known until Friday, and those results are still unofficial. 

County election results:

Kalamazoo County

Calhoun County 

Allegan County

Barry County

Election Reporting (includes Van Buren, Cass, St. Joseph, Berrien and Branch Counties) 

Updated November 7 1:20p.m. President Donald Trump says the race is far from over, despite projections that Democrat Joe Biden will win the election and become the next President of the United States. However, West Michigan Congressman Fred Upton is offering his congratulations to Biden, and pledging to work with the President-elect. Upton's statement:

“The votes have been counted, the American people have spoken, and they chose Joe Biden to serve as our next President. We have to find a way to come together, bridge divisions, and focus on solutions that help the millions who are struggling. I am raising my hand and committing to working with President-elect Biden and my colleagues on both sides of the aisle in Congress to do exactly that. As Frederick Douglass said, “I would unite with anybody to do right and with nobody to do wrong.”

Updated November 7 11:56a.m. (MPRN) A Republican-led legislative committee has granted itself subpoena power to look into the handling of the election in Michiagn. The vote by the joint House and Senate committee fell along party lines. Angry Democrats said Republicans are trying to cast doubt on the process as Joe Biden is being declared the winner of the presidential election over President Donald Trump.

Updated November 7 8:18a.m. (MPRN) The Legislature’s Republican leaders have created a new joint House and Senate committee to look into the conduct of Tuesday’s elections. In an extraordinary move, the committee will meet Saturday to grant itself subpoena power. House Speaker Lee Chatfield and Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey sent a letter Friday to the state elections director, Jonathan Brater. It says he should take steps to ensure records are not destroyed, even though the state maintains records for a post-election audit.

The letter also says the inquiry will focus on a mass mailing from the Secretary of State’s office. The letter reminded voters of their right to vote absentee, and included an application to request an absentee ballot. A judge has already ruled the mailing was legal.

Updated November 4 8:02 p.m. The Associated Press has projected that Democrat Joe Biden will win Michigan's 16 electoral votes. Unofficial returns show the former Vice President with 119,000 votes more than President Donald Trump.

The Gongwer News Service reports that U.S. Senator Gary Peters has narrowly won re-election, defeating Republican challenger John James. 

Republican Peter Meijer has been elected to Congress in the 3rd district, which includes Battle Creek and Grand Rapids. The AP has not projected a winner, but Democrat Hillary Scholten issued a statement conceding the race. The 3rd district is currently represented by Libertarian Justin Amash. He did not seek re-election this year after leaving the Republican party in 2019. 

Updated November 4 12:17 p.m. State Representative Jim Haadsma has won re-election in the state House district that includes Battle Creek. The Democrat won a narrow victory over Republican Dave Morgan. It was a rematch of 2018 when Haadsma was elected to this first term. 

Updated November 4 8:50 a.m. Republican state Representative Matt Hall has won re-election in the 63rd district, which includes parts of Kalamazoo and Calhoun Counties. Republican Beth Griffin has won a third term in the state House. She was re-elected in the 66th district, which includes all of Van Buren County and part of Kalamazoo County. Republican Steve Carra has won the state House seat including St. Joseph County and part of Cass County. The 59th District had been represented by Republican Aaron Miller, who could not run again due to term limits. 

Updated November 4 6:43 a.m. Election results came in and some races remain unsettled Wednesday morning. Kalamazoo County Clerk-Register Tim Snow says counting a record number of absentee ballots took time because current state law prohibits them from being tallied before the polls close. Larger cities like Kalamazoo could open envelopes ahead of time. But Snow says lawmakers should do more to speed up the counting process.

"Now that we can see the volume that we have, I'm hopeful that they will broaden that and hopefully we can move to some type of early processing. Even if it's just the day before, (that) would be very, very helpful."

Snow says several other states already allow early counting.

Updated November 4 5:42 a.m. The Gongwer News Service reports Democrat Christine Morse has defeated Republican Bronwyn Haltom to win the race for the 61st State House district. Earlier it was reported that Haltom had won the race for the district that includes Portage. It's the seat currentlty held by Republican Brandt Iden, who could not run again due to term limits. 

Updated November 4 at 5:40 a.m. West Michigan Congressman has won another two year term in the U.S. House. The Associated Press projected that the St. Joseph Republican won his 18th term over Democrat Jon Hoadley in Michigan’s 6th Congressional District.

Updated November 4 at 3:30 a.m. (WGVU) The race to fill the seat in Michigan’s Third Congressional District that includes Battle Creek is favoring Republican Peter Meijer. He holds double-digit leads over Democrat Hillary Scholten. The district represents all or parts of Barry, Kent, Calhoun, Ionia and Montcalm counties. Meijer says, “It’s critical that we wait until the votes are counted. So, we have no declaration yet. But we are so proud of the outpouring of support that we’ve received from the community so far.” An Iraq War veteran, the Grand Rapids native says he's focused on creating a strong business environment. He would fill the seat held by former Republican turned Libertarian Congressman Justin Amash, who decided not to seek another term.

Updated November 4 at 1:30 a.m. The 60th State House District that includes the City of Kalamazoo will stay in Democratic hands. The Associated Press says Kalamazoo County Commissioner Julie Rogers has edged out Republican Gary Mitchell and fellow County Commissioner Stephanie Moore, who was a write-in candidate. The seat was open because current State Representative Jon Hoadley of Kalamazoo couldn't run again because of term limits. He challenged Republican Congressman Fred Upton in the Sixth District that includes Kalamazoo and most of southwest Michigan. Upton, who's been in Congress since 1986, has declared victory. But the AP hasn't called the race for either candidate yet.

Updated November 4 at 12:45 a.m. The Gongwer News Service says the chief justice of Michigan's Supreme Court - Mary Bridget McCormack - has been re-elected. The Democratic nominee led all other candidates running for two seats on the state's highest court, including in some areas that are heavily Republican. The winner of the seat now held by departing Justice Stephen Markman is still unclear.

 

Michigan voters have approved two ballot proposals. One requires revenue from fees paid by oil and gas companies drilling on state-owned land to go to the state's Natural Resources Trust fund to pay for improvements at start parks and conversation programs. The second requires police to get a search warrant to seize data from mobile phones and other electronic devices.

 

Updated November 3 at 10:15 p.m. (MPRN) Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson says she expects the unofficial tally of ballots should be completed within 24 hours.

Signs outside WMU's Bernhard Center
Credit Emmanuel Wilson / WMUK

Update November 3 at 8:20 p.m. (MPRN) The polls have closed in Michigan. Now the waiting begins. And we could be waiting a while after an election conducted under unprecedented conditions.

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson says it could be Thursday or Friday before there’s a complete-enough picture to declare winners and losers. Much of the voting was done by mail – more than any in any prior election. It also appears in-person turnout Tuesday was record-setting.

There was also concern about possible civil unrest. But Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel says voting was "blissfully uneventful," adding that, “We’ve had virtually no disturbances of any kind, even from the standpoint of electronic issues at the polls, we haven’t seen that either.”

The stakes are Michigan’s 16 electoral votes, a U.S. Senate seat, and control of the State House of Representatives.

 

Students getting ready to vote in WMU's Bernhard Center Tuesday
Credit Chloe Miller / WMUK

Update November 3 at 7:24 p.m. Western Michigan University students started voting bright and early on Election Day. After Michigan voted for same-day registration in 2018, many students have registered at the satellite Kalamazoo City Clerk's office in the Bernhard Center. Denise Keel is the co-chair of We Vote, which encourages WMU students to participate in elections. 

"Many of them are coming because they want to take advantage of same-day registration and be able to do that and vote here. And the other half are, ‘Yep, I'm registered,’ and we’re sending them to their regular precinct."  

People who voted at Bernhard Center found the polling place look a bit different. There were plastic shields separating voters from workers to protect people from COVID-19. Each worker also wore gloves and masks. Western student Madison Ochs says the extra precautions were comforting.

  

"There was a whole bunch of space, in terms of social distancing, and masks, and everything like that. So, that was really comforting. And a whole bunch of hand sanitizer stations. And we got to keep the pens. That's always a plus."

  

Election officials in Michigan say not to expect final results of the election tonight. That's because of a huge increase in early and absentee voting.

 

Update November 3 at 5:24 p.m.(WDET) A Detroit civil rights group is alleging voter harassment in Hamtramck during Election Day. Michigan’s chapter of the Council on American–Islamic Relations (CAIR) is making the complaint. It says Hamtramck’s city clerk threatened to remove a poll challenger who was assisting a voter who needed Arabic-language assistance. CAIR staff attorney Amy Doukoure says that’s illegal. “Poll challengers are here to observe and to assist at the polls," Doukoure says. "They’re not prohibited from helping people. People who come into the polls who need assistance are able to get assistance from anybody that they need assistance from.” Michigan election law bans poll challengers from approaching  voters or talking directly to them for any reason. But Doukoure says it was the voter who requested help from the challenger. Under federal law, voters with limited English proficiency can ask for help from the person of their choice.

Update November 3 at 4:05pm Governor Gretchen Whitmer says few problems have been reported as people line up to vote in person Tuesday. However, Whitmer says authorities are ready to deal with any harassment or intimidation if it happens. The governor says

"There’s a law on the books that says it is a felony. And we won’t tolerate it and we will take action. But so far we haven’t seen any of that."

Absentee voting is also heavy. As of Monday, 2.9-million Michigan voters cast absentee ballots. That’s compared to 1.2-million absentee voters in 2016. That equals 60 percent of all the absentee ballots cast in 2016. There are still 565,000 absentee ballots that have been issued but still not returned.

Update November 3 at 2:35pm  Michigan’s top election official says more than three million people have voted before Election Day. Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson says the number of absentee ballots cast this year has tripled compared to the last presidential election in November 2016. Benson says 3.4-million absentee ballots were requested. She expects many will be returned Tuesday alongside ballots cast at polling centers throughout the state. Benson says it could take several days to count those votes.

Update November 3 at 1:40pm Michigan officials have reported robocalls designed to confuse voters. A statement from Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson says the calls were reported in Flint. She says people who plan to vote should cast their ballot, or be line to vote, by 8:00p.m.