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Officials predict calmer environment at Detroit's absentee vote counting board this election

Screenshot 2022-11-08 at 18-52-04 (WEBP Image 1760 × 1320 pixels) — Scaled (75%).png
Sarah Cwiek
/
Michigan Radio
Donald Trump supporters and others outside the TCF Center (now Huntington Place) in 2020.

Detroit election officials say things at the city’s absentee county board should be much calmer for this election than they were in 2020.

That year, hundreds of supporters of former President Donald Trump stormed what was then the TCF Center. They suspected, without evidence, that fraud was going on there.

Matt Friedman is a spokesman for the non-partisan voter information group Detroit Votes. He said what’s now Huntington Place has gotten a security upgrade, including metal detectors, along with security assistance from Detroit Police.

Friedman said the central counting board has also been moved off the main floor this year. “It's going to be behind closed doors,” he said. “Access will be for poll workers, for poll challengers, poll watchers and journalists. It should be a safer and more secure environment to count votes.”

Friedman said work pre-processing absentee ballots has already been going on for several days there. “We’re actually in day three of the work at the Huntington Place by the central counting board,” he said. “And things are going as planned.”

Friedman said Detroit Votes has been trying to get the word out that counting absentee ballots will make results take a little longer than people are accustomed to, in part because of much higher volumes of them now. Plus, “Absentee ballots take longer to count than in-person ballots do. And that's because of several factors that are in the law,” Friedman said. “So if it takes longer to count absentee ballots, it’s not because somebody is slow or because they're doing it wrong. It's because they're following the law.”

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