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State explains discrepancy with election returns compared to media reports

Media outlets get real-time election returns from local clerks while the state has to wait longer for counties to report
Published: Nov. 5, 2020 at 6:59 PM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WJRT) - A lot of questions are floating around about election results in Michigan.

The Secretary of State’s Office is clearing up any confusion caused by differing results on the department’s website compared to what media outlets were showing across the state. Media outlets were reporting Joe Biden won Michigan early Thursday while the Secretary of State’s website still showed President Donald Trump ahead.

The discrepancy set social media buzzing with a screenshot from the Secretary of State’s website showing Trump leading Michigan hours after media outlets projected Biden had won the battleground state.

Shortly before 7 a.m. the Secretary of State’s Office posted a tweet hoping to clear up any confusion circulated.

“Because Michigan’s election system is decentralized, results are reported from local jurisdictions to counties, and only after a county has all jurisdictions reporting are its results added to our website. Media get real time results from local and county sites," the tweet says.

News outlets, including ABC12, have access to up-to-date results from local jurisdictions before they are added to the state’s website. That allows news outlets to provide accurate and current election data before the state.

As of 7 a.m. Thursday, the state was only reporting data from 81 of Michigan’s 83 counties. By 9 a.m. the state was reporting results from 82 counties, meaning the results updated.

The Secretary of State’s website was then showing Biden leading in Michigan with 50.6% of the vote to Trump’s 47.87%. The state’s website will continue to update until all counties report and the final results can be shown.

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