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After Warnings It Could Go Off the Rails, the Election Actually Ran Smoothly

Even that, Ms. Woodall-Vogg said, was a pretty normal experience.

“In previous elections, the police followed me in my car,” she said. “This time it was a matter of how am I going to get there efficiently with a media barrage. It wasn’t out of the ordinary.”

In Michigan, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson recruited more than 30,000 election workers to staff the polls and, in Detroit, work around the clock counting the state’s three million absentee ballots.

In Detroit, that meant building three teams of 700 to 800 people each who would begin counting ballots when the polls opened on Election Day and work continuously until the job was finished midday Wednesday. In the August primary, with half as many absentee ballots cast, it took Michigan officials two full days after the election to finish counting, Ms. Benson said.

Among the new poll workers was Crystal Reed, a 52-year-old from Warren, Mich.

Ms. Reed, who works for the Michigan League of Conservation Voters, arrived at an elementary school at 5:20 a.m. to begin setting up for the polls opening at 7. She then spent all day working the tabulator, helping people insert their ballot into a machine to be counted before making sure they left with the ubiquitous “I Voted” sticker.

She stayed until 9 p.m., leaving upbeat about democracy and her place in it.

“I love to make people happy and to see the smiles on these people’s faces, it was really nice,” Ms. Reed said. “I think when you’re smiling and you’ve got that positive energy, it can bounce off of them and make them happy too.”

Luke Broadwater, Nick Corasaniti and Jesse McKinley contributed reporting.


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