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Michigan elections FAQ video: Trump Veepstakes, Whitmer ambitions and more

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Reporters Isabel Lohman, Lauren Gibbons and Simon Schuster answered reader questions during the latest episode of Bridge Elections FAQ.
  • Bridge Michigan is answering reader questions through our Elections FAQ series, including a weekly video show
  • In a new episode, reporters discuss a recent visit by a potential Trump running mate and ‘the interview’ with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer
  • Reporters also answer reader questions about election results, ballot design, tabulator tests and more.

Is Donald Trump considering anyone from Michigan as his running mate? What did we learn from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s big New York Times interview? How long after polls close will we know election results this year? Why don’t more people attend public vote tabulator tests? 

Bridge Michigan reporters answered those and other questions Monday in our latest Elections FAQ live show. Watch the YouTube video below

Question of your own? Ask it here, and sign up for our politics newsletter to be the first to know about our show next week.

Reporter Lauren Gibbons began this week’s show by discussing the potential for a Whitmer presidential campaign in 2028, while reporter Simon Schuster discussed potential Trump running mates, including fading speculation about Michigan’s Tudor Dixon and a recent visit by North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum. 

Then, they answered several reader questions, including: 

How soon after polls close will we know the winner this year?

"I wish I could predict that kind of thing," Gibbons said. 

The state has taken some steps to speed up results reporting, such as giving clerks more time to process and tabulate absentee ballots before Election Day. It'll also be Michigan's first general election with early in-person voting, which allows voters to put their ballots into a tabulator before Election Day.

But the state also phased out a traditional practice of local clerks transmitting results to the county via modem. It's now generally done by physically driving a memory stick, and that takes more time. 


Why don't more people attend the public accuracy tests (of voting equipment) that take place prior to an election? 

Election clerks are supposed to provide notice of tabulator accuracy testing at least 48 hours in advance, and they must perform the testing at least five days before early voting begins. That means for the August primary the testing must be done by July 22.

They might not be the most riveting events, but they are “pretty fundamental to ensuring our elections work properly," Schuster said. 

Where can I find out how Michigan lawmakers voted on bills?

You can find that information on the Michigan Legislature’s website — if you know where to look and how to review legislative journals. 

“As someone who's been covering Michigan politics for a decade, at this point, it's pretty difficult for anyone, including me,” Gibbons said. 

@bridge.michigan Is Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer considering running for president? Bridge Capitol Reporter Lauren Gibbons gives her thoughts. #michigan #politics #news #election2024 #elections ♬ original sound - Bridge Michigan

She noted some third-party groups do provide tools to look up lawmaker votes. That includes, which is generally thorough but is not official, as it’s run by the free-market Mackinac Center for Public Policy. 

How many precincts were not auditable – or recountable – in 2020? 

Any precinct can be audited after an election, but under current Michigan law, precincts can only be recounted in a close election if they are "in balance," meaning the number of ballots matches the number of voters in the poll book.

Schuster noted that's been an issue in Detroit, where nearly 30% of precincts were out of balance in 2020, albeit very slightly. 

Detroit did much better in 2020 and recently approved legislation would allow for recounts even in "out of balance" precincts. 

Are candidate names "scrambled" on all Michigan ballots?

It depends on the election. Candidate names are generally scrambled in non-partisan elections to "eliminate the chance that a candidate may be unfairly advantaged or disadvantaged in an election by his or her position on the ballot."


But as Gibbons noted, in partisan elections the order of candidates is actually prescribed by political party. First up is the candidate from the political party that got the most votes in the last Secretary of State election. 

Bonus questions: Gibbons and Schuster also answered live viewer questions about whether Biden could still drop out of the presidential election, the state of the state budget and the recent arrest of a Michigan lawmaker. 

Bridge will be back with another Elections FAQ live show next week. In the meantime, ask your question here. We could answer them in a future live show or in a post on our website.

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