'The process worked': Secretary of State says 'accurate' Michigan ballot count complete

Michigan ballot count
NOVEMBER 04: Protesters attend a "Count On Us" rally at the Michigan State Capitol building on November 04, 2020 in Lansing, Michigan. Photo credit John Moore/Getty Images

(WWJ) Michigan's Secretary of State says the process of tabulating votes in the state was "by and large complete" Wednesday night.

Speaking at a virtual news conference at 8 p.m., Jocelyn Benson said more than 5.2 million people voted -- more than in any other election in Michigan's history -- and 3.3 million of them voted absentee.

Benson said, "In Michigan, the process worked," and that she is confident the vote counting process was "secure" and "accurate" -- and anyone who tells you otherwise is "attacking our democracy, or unhappy with the results."

Benson said on polling places were "islands of calm" on Election Day, where people of many different backgrounds voted.

She praised "heroic efforts" of clerks and poll workers.

With more than 99% of votes tabulated, Joe Biden -- projected by CBS and the Associated Press to be the winner in Michigan -- maintained a 120,000 vote lead over President Donald Trump. In an even tighter race, incumbent Senator Gary Peters was gripping onto a 60,000 vote lead over GOP challenger John James. Peters declared victory in a tweet, shortly before the Associated Press named him the winner.

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Now that the unofficial results are in, Benson said there is more work to be done, "We now turn to the canvasing part of the process, which involves a bipartisan process of checks and balances that will proceed over the next 13 days," she said.

Moving forward, Benson cautioned Michiganders about spreading "misinformation designed to further efforts to sew "seeds of doubt" about the integrity of the election, both in Michigan and throughout the country.

"Whether it's doctored images, staged demonstrations, false tweets or frivolous lawsuits, the purpose is all the same: to reduce the public's faith in our elections and their outcomes," she said, adding that she believes such efforts will not succeed.

Benson was asked if she's calling a lawsuit filed by the Trump campaign -- which sought to halt the counting of absentee ballots in Michigan -- "frivolous," Benson said yes.

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