Lengthy early voting lines in Michigan and two stops by President Donald Trump on Monday marked the eve of a pivotal election that will cement the path of the nation for the next four years.

Trump won the state by 10,704 votes in 2016, his closest margin of victory nationally. But he and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden have both invested heavily in Michigan. The president made the final stop of his campaign in Grand Rapids late Monday night, and Biden’s running mate, U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris of California, is scheduled to spend a portion of her Election Day in Detroit.

“We want the same result as we had four years ago from Michigan,” Trump told thousands of supporters in Traverse City on Monday evening. “And we fulfilled all of our promises.”

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People wait in line to vote early at City Hall in Pontiac, November 2, 2020. (Photo: David Guralnick, The Detroit News)

Hours before the president took the stage in northern Michigan, On’Tre Little, 21, of Kentwood waited about 30 minutes in a line to cast his absentee ballot early. It was his first vote in a presidential election. He supported Biden.

“Right now, this is the best option,” Little said of backing the former vice president.

Lines to vote early were reported in cities and townships across Michigan on Monday, including in Royal Oak in Democratic-friendly Oakland County and Sterling Heights in Trump-friendly Macomb County. In Grand Rapids, the state’s second-largest city, election workers and voters said the wait to cast a ballot was about an hour and 45 minutes.

The line to vote wove back and forth in a parking garage with people wearing coats as temperatures hung in the 40s.

Jeremy Mullan, 28, of Grand Rapids was among the voters in the line. “I think this election is pretty important,” he said. “Both candidates might not be the best, but still, you should come out and vote.”

Monday’s early turnout set the stage for an election that is expected to shatter Michigan’s prior election turnout record of 5.08 million voters in 2008. 

By 10 a.m. Monday, 2.9 million Michigan residents had already cast their absentee ballots, according to Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson. That’s about 60% of the 4.8 million votes that were registered in the presidential race in 2016. Experts predict as many as 5.9 million voters could cast ballots.

In polling, Biden has performed better among early voters while Trump has led among Election Day voters. The question on Tuesday will be how many people turn out to vote in person, said David Dulio, a political science professor at Oakland University.

“The more turnout for tomorrow, I think it’s better for the president,” Dulio said.


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Freelance writer Greg Tasker and the Associated Press contributed.

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