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News outlets called Michigan for Biden when state website had Trump leading. Here's why.

The secretary of state's office said it expected that its own reporting of election results would be behind.

The Associated Press and all the major news outlets called the presidential race in Michigan for former Vice President Wednesday afternoon. By AP's total electoral vote count, it put Biden six votes shy of the 270 needed to defeat President Donald Trump.

But some people looking at the Michigan secretary of state's website, which updates election results, noted that it still said Trump was leading Biden by more than 3.5% Wednesday night with 81 of 83 counties reporting. But news outlets, including AP, had a higher total vote count reported and with Biden holding a 2% lead.

Credit: WZZM
A screen shot from the Michigan Secretary of State's website at 12:08 a.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 5, 2020.

The secretary of state's office said it expected that its own reporting would be behind and advised the public and the media ahead of time to check county election websites for the most updated information.

"We only update the website when counties report their complete counts to us—even after counting is finished in individual counties (thereby giving results) there are still administrative and procedural things they need to do before the transmission happens, so sometimes it takes some time," read a statement from Tracy Wimmer, Director of Media Relations for Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson. "This delay is no way indicative of fraud or cause for concern."

Wayne County, where Detroit is located, is one of those missing counties from the state total, according to the secretary of state's office. But a check of Wayne County's election website showed Biden leading Trump in the county by more than 300,000 votes out of 843,268 counted as of 4:50 p.m. Wednesday.

The Trump campaign has filed a lawsuit in Michigan, demanding better access for campaign observers to locations where ballots are being processed and counted, and raise absentee ballot concerns, the campaign said. However, at one Michigan location in question The Associated Press observed poll watchers from both sides monitoring on Wednesday. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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