LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – When it comes to counting absentee ballots, election officials say it’s a bit of a waiting game. They add it could be a while before the results come in this year for election night, but they’re prepared.

“Elections are not a one-day event, we’ve been preparing for this election for a couple months now,” Ingham County Clerk Barb Byrum said.

And the clock is ticking. Clerks are busy registering voters, issuing absentee ballots, and training election workers.

“Just all of the finishing touches to get ready before Election Day,” East Lansing City Clerk Jennifer Shuster said.

Clerks and election officials around Mid-Michigan are hard at work with Election Day being only one week away. With the day being so close, they’re encouraging voters who have absentee ballots to no longer mail them in, but instead, to hand-deliver them.

“Put it in your local clerk’s drop-box or hand it over to your local clerk during their office hours,” Byrum said.

The Ingham County Clerk said more than 62,000 individual voters requested absentee ballots and nearly 40,000 of those have been completed and returned. But even though some ballots have already been sent in, clerks are not allowed to start counting until Nov. 8.

“So, the actual tabulation and counting of absentee ballots cannot start until 7 a.m. on Election Day,” Shuster said. “However, we have been granted permission to start pre-processing absentee ballots throughout the state.”

Those pre-processing duties include verifying that the ballot number inside matches the one on the label on the envelope. This gives election workers a bit of a head start on the absentee count. But a final tally will take time.”

I expect results to start trickling in around 10 p.m. on election night,” Byrum said. “But keep in mind those are unofficial results, and absentee ballots, those absent voter ballots, take a long time to process and they’ll start coming in probably later in the evening.”

In the State of Michigan, you’re allowed to register and vote on Election Day, however, it must be done through your local clerk’s office.