Polls are open for Election Day. And many eyes are on Michigan, with races for governor, secretary of state and attorney general at stake, as well as three ballot proposals and a state Legislature that could flip to Democrats for the first time in decades.
We’re following what’s happening at polls across metro Detroit and around the state, so keep your eyes here and refresh for new updates. Polls close at 8 p.m.
Feds monitor polls in 5 Michigan cities
The U.S. Department of Justice will monitor for compliance with the federal voting rights laws in Detroit, Flint, Grand Rapids, Pontiac, and Southfield on Tuesday.
The five cities the federal government is monitoring in Michigan are among 64 jurisdictions across 24 states that the department is keeping an eye on.
The Justice Department has regularly monitored elections in the field in jurisdictions around the country since the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson called the presence of the Justice Department “an additional partner in the field,” in an interview with several reporters Tuesday morning.
“The presence of the Justice Department, the presence of other partners in the field, including over 50 people from our office who will be working to protect and support clerks and poll workers, is just a reflection of how prepared we are to minimize any potential disruptions and ensure the day goes smoothly,” Benson said.
Bruce Adelson, a voting rights lawyer who worked for Michigan’s redistricting commission and previously served as an attorney focused on voting and elections at the U.S. Department of Justice, said he doesn’t think the department has ever sent that many monitors to Michigan on a federal election day.
The number of monitors is not necessarily indicative of an increase in threats, he said.
“I think it’s more a function of what elections you actually have at issue,” Adelson said. The battleground state has three contentious races for top statewide offices and Adelson noted “heated rhetoric in Michigan and other states” this cycle.
− Adrienne Roberts and Clara Hendrickson
‘Important for me and for my daughter’
Mark and Amy Miller headed to the polls at the Pleasant Ridge Community Center Tuesday morning before 9:30 a.m. with their two children Noah, 7, and Abby, 5.
Amy Miller said the key issue that brought her out was Proposal 3, which puts reproductive rights, including an individual’s right to make decisions about abortion and pregnancy, in the Michigan Constitution. “It is important for me and for my daughter, that’s why I brought her along with me today,” said Miller, who is 36.
Miller, who is Catholic, said she voted yes on Proposal 3 and expects that the voting will go in favor of the yes votes.
“It’s important that women are able to take care of themselves,” Amy Miller said. “It’s not necessarily for me about the abortion part. It’s about having that systematic right for healthcare.”
Michigan on track for historic turnout
Expect unofficial election results in Michigan to be completed Wednesday, within 24 hours of polls closing, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said to a group of several reporters Tuesday morning.
“Know that as of right now, people are already validating and tabulating those absentee ballots and working efficiently and securely to get things done as quickly as possible,” Benson said.
She said Michigan is on track to have one of the highest turnouts for a midterm election in the state’s history.
− Adrienne Roberts
‘Time tested and ready’ as polls open
The state of Michigan is more prepared for Tuesday’s election than it ever has been for previous elections, Jake Rollow, a spokesperson for the Michigan Department of State, said on a call with reporters Tuesday morning.
After working through the 2020 election and seeing record-high turnouts in the midst of the pandemic, Rollow said “election officials across the state, I would say, are time tested and ready for whatever comes their way.”
Based on early conversations with clerks and observations at the polling site he visited, there are more people showing up in person to vote than in recent elections and voters are casting their ballots without any issues.
He said as of 8 a.m. Tuesday, 2,016,147 absentee ballots had been requested and 1,716,264 absentee ballots were submitted.
− Adrienne Roberts