Election results in Michigan: Roughly 100,000 ballots still being counted Wednesday

Dave Boucher
Detroit Free Press

With roughly 96% of the vote in, Democratic nominee Joe Biden maintained a lead of about 46,000 votes over President Donald Trump Wednesday morning, but there were still less than 100,000 ballots that needed to be counted before Michigan knows its final election results.

Those votes are largely coming from absentee ballots, and are expected to help Biden over Trump. As of 12:45 p.m., Biden had 2,620,229 votes and Trump had2,574,816, according to estimates from the Associated Press. 

These numbers can change at any minute, as tallies continue to come in. The estimated number of remaining ballots is based on total voter participation numbers released by the state. These numbers will likely change slightly throughout the day. 

The delayed results were expected and are a sign clerks are deliberate in their counting process, said Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson. 

"Michigan update: Election officials worked through the night to #CountEveryVote. That work continues," Benson tweeted at approximately 7 a.m. 

"Hundreds of thousands of ballots in our largest jurisdictions are still being counted, including Detroit, Grand Rapids, Flint, Warren & Sterling Heights. Every vote will count." 

At about 9:10 a.m., Benson tweeted the total results included the count of absentee ballots from Livonia and Dearborn, but counted continued in Detroit, Grand Rapids and Flint. 

Poll workers count absentee ballots for the city of Detroit at the TCF Center in downtown Detroit on Tuesday, November 3, 2020.

Here's a breakdown of some of the key counties with outstanding votes: 


  • Biden: 519,809
  • Trump: 244,853
  • Percentage of precincts fully reporting: 863 of 1,115 (77.4%)


  • Biden: 438,147
  • Trump: 328,313
  • Percentage of precincts fully reporting: 506 of 506 (100%)


  • Trump: 264,467
  • Biden: 225,509
  • Percentage of precincts fully reporting: 343 of 343 (100%)


  • Trump: 153,472  
  • Biden: 141,078
  • Percentage of precincts fully reporting: About 85%


  • Biden: 102,322
  • Trump: 97,439
  • Percentage of precincts fully reporting: 219 of 280 (78.21%) 

More:Michigan Election 2020 live updates: We may know today who won

More:Largest counties in Michigan still counting ballots as presidential outcome tightens

At the start of the day, Benson expected more than 5.26 million Michigan residents cast a ballot in this election, by far the most in any election in state history.  By noon, more than that many votes for president had been counted. During a midday press conference, Benson estimated there were still approximately 100,000 outstanding votes to tally. 

Third party candidates have received about 80,000 votes so far. 

Poll workers count absentee ballots for the city of Detroit at the TCF Center in downtown Detroit on Tuesday, November 3, 2020.

More than 3.26 million of those votes came via absentee ballots. But Michigan election law does not allow clerks to start counting ballots until the morning of the election. The processing and security measures involved in the absentee ballot counting process means it takes longer to count these ballots than the in-person vote. 

The cities Benson listed in her tweet are generally Democratic strongholds, although Republicans have done well in Warren and Macomb County in the past. 

Benson expects to have most of the ballots counted at some point today. 

Contact Dave Boucher at dboucher@freepress.com or 313-938-4591. Follow him on Twitter @Dave_Boucher1.