Tense Scenes Outside Vote-Counting Centers, as Verdict Looms in 2020 Race

Supporters of Donald Trump gather to demand a fair count of the votes of the 2020 presidential election, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, November 5, 2020. (Eduardo Munoz/Reuters)

Groups of Trump supporters are gathering outside polling places in several battleground states as election results continue to come in around the country and more mail ballots favoring Joe Biden are added to the vote totals.

Protesters wearing Trump gear, and in some cases armed with weapons, gathered at the election center in Maricopa County, Arizona’s suburban population center, and chanted “Stop the steal” and “Count those votes.” Both Democrat and Republican poll observers were inside the election center as ballots were counted. The pro-Trump protests outside eventually caused the county to close the building to the media and the public.

Biden currently has an edge in Arizona, and the Associated Press called the state for him early Wednesday morning, but Trump has been cutting into his lead over the last 24 hours.

“If they’re supporting the president they should want us to continue counting. I just don’t know what their goal is,” Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs said Thursday morning.

President Trump on Thursday morning tweeted “STOP THE COUNT!” as ballots continue to be tallied in several other states that still have not been called: Pennsylvania, Nevada, North Carolina, Georgia, and Alaska.

In Michigan, which has been called for Biden, Republican poll watchers were blocked from observing the opening of ballots in Detroit when city police officers locked the doors to the convention center where ballots were being counted. The observers were told that both the Democratic and Republican parties had exceeded the maximum allowed number of 134 observers each. Some of the poll watchers then began to knock on the windows and doors of the rooms where ballot counting was ongoing, and election workers covered up some of the windows with cardboard and poster board.

“When you walk in, they ask what party you’re affiliated with and as soon as you say GOP, they say, ‘Both are at capacity.’ Well, if that was the case, why did you ask what my party was in the first place?” one Republican observer said, adding that GOP observers left the ballot counting room, and the Detroit Department of Elections refused to allow their replacements inside.

Meanwhile in Georgia, where Trump leads by only about 18,000 votes, Trump supporters stood outside several polling places chanting “Stop the count.”

In Pennsylvania, a group of Trump supporters gathered at the Philadelphia convention center holding signs with slogans like “Count Legal Votes.”

Biden supporters also held protests in polling locations where votes are still being counted, including a large group of pro-Democrat demonstrators outside the Philadelphia convention center, where Philadelphia ballots are being processed. Demonstrators carried signs reading “count every vote.”

Georgia is still tallying about 61,000 ballots, including thousands of mail ballots, many from counties that generally vote Democrat. Pennsylvania, where Trump leads by about 115,000 votes, is still in the process of counting more than 2.5 million mail-in ballots, which tend to favor Biden.

Republicans are particularly galvanized against the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s ruling in September that allowed mail-in ballots to be counted even if they had no postmark proving that they had been mailed by Election Day. The Supreme Court rejected an emergency request by Republicans to block the ruling.

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