‘It feels like an eternity’: Restless Lansing voters await results after Election Day

Greater Lansing residents cope with lingering uncertainties amid tight presidential race

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WEDNESDAY, Nov. 4 — Crystal Gomez hasn’t put down her phone since last night.

Gomez, 36, of Lansing, is among thousands of voters in Greater Lansing anxiously awaiting definitive results from yesterday’s General Election. Precincts are fully reported in Ingham, Clinton and Eaton counties. The state of Michigan was also called by MIRS News for former Vice President Joe Biden shortly after 2 p.m.

But with definitive results in several swing states yet to be determined, the presidency was still far too early to call by 2 p.m. today.  With a surge in absentee voting across the country, immediate results were not expected. Still, it hasn't made the wait any easier more than 16 hours after polls closed on Election Day.

“It feels like an eternity, honestly,” Gomez said. “We’re constantly on our phones checking.”

Anticipated legal challenges and recount efforts could further delay any definitive outlook on the next four years. But despite lingering uncertainties, Gomez, like so many others, is still trying to stay positive as final counts are tallied.

“It’s all we have,” she told City Pulse as she strolled through Frandor Shopping Center today.

Others, like Frank Vigliarolo, aren't expecting some sudden wave of bipartisan unity, regardless of how the results of the presidential election pan out over the coming hours, days or weeks. 

Vigliarolo, 27, of East Lansing was among a growing majority of Michigan residents who voted yesterday afternoon for former Vice President Joe Biden. And though the race is still too close to call, he said the outcome will likely do little to disrupt the divisive nature of U.S. politics.

“I don’t think any of what people call partisanship or division is going to slow down,” he said, noting he was still “fascinated” to watch how this election was playing out last night and this morning. “It’s pretty interesting to see the add-up of different counties.”

Voters across the nation, including in swing states like Michigan, awoke this morning to lingering uncertainty as clerks worked to tally a record number of absentee ballots throughout the afternoon. 

Though precincts in Ingham, Clinton and Eaton counties completed initial vote totals, thousands of untallied absentee ballots delayed definitive results in Michigan until after 2 p.m. today when MIRS News called the race for Biden. 

The latest data shows Biden is now projected to grab at least 248 of the 270 electoral votes needed to clinch the presidency, while President Donald Trump had only locked down 214. Michigan, last leaning Biden by about 45,000 votes with 96% of votes tallied, is now projected to send its 16 electoral votes to Biden. 

Tony Kaiser, 26, of East Lansing, was surprised to see the tight presidential race unfolding today. He eagerly awaited results as millions of ballots elsewhere in the country continued to be counted this afternoon. 

“I know there might be some crazy things that will happen, but I hope people will come together instead of becoming more divided,” Kaiser told a City Pulse reporter earlier this afternoon. 

Isabella Postava and Taylor Ashley, both 20, were also awaiting results in East Lansing.

“People around the country are prepared for protests and riots,” Ashley explained. “I am definitely stressed, especially because I have school going on too. I just want to know who it is.”

Added Postava: “It’s definitely weird noticing how high tensions are. I’m stressed.”

Tim Nicholson, 24, of East Lansing, watched this morning as Biden took the lead from Trump in Michigan and states like Arizona and Wisconsin. Still, uncertainty is “nerve-wracking,” he said.

“As long as everyone’s vote gets counted, that’s all that really matters,” he told City Pulse.

Angela Jackson, 47, of Lansing, said she also picked the “lesser of two evils” in casting a vote for Biden yesterday. And she’s also prepared to wait several days or weeks to see him elected.

“He has more political background, and the last four years have been very messy,” she added.

Other voters chose to abandon the two-party system altogether. Victoria Coen, 25, of Flint, said she voted for Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins despite knowing nothing at all of his platform. For her, it was a choice for anybody besides Biden or Trump for the next four years.

“Who’s to say Biden is our savior? Who’s to say Trump is this horrible person? I just couldn’t make up my mind so voting Green was kind of the only way to go,” Coen told a reporter while bringing back some bottles and cans to Kroger at the Frandor Shopping Center in Lansing.

“I’m scared they’re going to destroy our city either way,” Coen speculates. 

Early results show Biden carrying Ingham County by wide margins but charting a narrow defeat in Eaton and Clinton counties. Absentee ballots across Greater Lansing — as expected — also appear to have heavily favored the Democratic Party. About 65% of all Biden votes cast in the tri-county region were absentee ballots, compared to a rate of only about 33% for Trump votes.

Though early results showed that about 40% of the region’s in-person ballots went to Trump, enthusiasm at the polls yesterday also appeared to be heavily fueled by local support for Biden.

Staff writer KYLE KAMINSKI contributed to this report. 

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