Supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump hold signs and chant during a protest about the early results of the 2020 presidential election, in front of the Phoenix City Hall, in Phoenix, Arizona, U.S., November 5, 2020. REUTERS/Cheney Orr

THE NEUTRAL ZONE

Protests over ballot tallies in key battleground states arose Wednesday, with President Donald Trump’s campaign disputing results and methods by filing multiple lawsuits in some contested states. 

Trump tweeted early Thursday, “STOP THE COUNT!” Trump adviser Jason Miller clarified the president was “pointing out” that states “should not be counting ballots that were mailed in or magically appeared in a stack of ballots after Election Day.” Biden and his campaign maintain, “Every vote must be counted.” 

Poll challengers gathered at the TCF Center in Detroit, shouting “Stop the count!” following Michigan’s electoral votes being called for Former Vice President Joe Biden Wednesday. Tensions rose when both parties had over 200 poll challengers in the room, exceeding capacity. Officials, including police officers, blocked additional supporters from entering and blocked windows. Republicans said that this blockage allowed more Democrats to be present to observe the count, which led them to challenge the authenticity of the results.

In Arizona, pro-Trump protestors assembled outside of a Maricopa County ballot-processing center chanting “Count the votes!” and “Let us in!” as officials continued to count the votes into the night. Protestors raised concerns that Republican ballots may have been thrown out after Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) tweeted an unconfirmed rumor that a large amount of pro-Trump ballots were disqualified for using Sharpies to mark ballots. The Maricopa County Elections Department verified Tuesday that Sharpies were acceptable to use to mark ballots.

Philadelphia, a city already reeling from tensions over the police killing of Walter Wallace Jr. and the subsequent release of body camera footage from the incident, saw additional protests as the closely-contested state awaited final ballot counts.

The Trump campaign filed four lawsuits in various states as of Thursday contesting ballot counts. A Michigan judge dismissed the campaign’s lawsuit to stop vote counting until representatives could get “meaningful access” to observe the process, stating the counting had already finished. The campaign has also filed ballot-related lawsuits in Pennsylvania, Georgia and Nevada.

Some protestors outside of the contested states demanded all votes be counted. Oregon Gov. Kate Brown activated the National Guard in Portland following police reports of violence, and at least 30 people were arrested in Lower Manhattan during protests. Hundreds of protestors gathered peacefully in Chicago’s Daley Plaza. Minnesota state troopers intend to arrest at least 200 protestors who shut down I-94 in Minneapolis.

MEDIA PERSPECTIVE

Hundreds upset over ballot counting protest in downtown Phoenix – AZFamily – 11/5/2020
It all started when the extremist group AZ Patriots initially walked right into the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office at Third Avenue and Lincoln Street, live streaming around 7 p.m. One of the members was wearing a military vest and made a claim the County used Sharpie pens to make some ballots invalid. The conspiracy gained traction on Wednesday, but the officials said that it is not true and Sharpie pens don’t disqualify ballots. After demonstrators were kicked out of the elections center, they stayed in the parking lot.

Rival protests shout ‘count every vote,’ ‘stop the count’ in metro Detroit – Detroit Free Press – 11/4/2020
Rival chants of “stop the count” and “count the votes” echoed across Detroit as poll workers tallied absentee ballots Wednesday, in some cases just inside the door from the shouts. Would-be challengers denied entry to counting being done at the TCF Center in downtown Detroit, already filled with 570 challengers of various leanings, pounded on the windows and chanted in support of a lawsuit President Donald Trump said he filed to stop the count due to concern with transparency.

Protesters march in Center City amid election demonstrations and release of bodycam footage of Walter Wallace Jr.’s killing by police – The Philadelphia Inquirer – 11/4/2020
As Wednesday brought both an anxious wait for election ballots to be counted and the release of body-camera footage from the police killing of Walter Wallace Jr., about 1,000 people marched through Philadelphia in a double protest. It was emblematic of the turmoil facing the city and nation during an unprecedented time of pandemic and political and social unrest. For many on the streets Wednesday, Wallace’s death and the unsettled election were linked, both products of what they called a broken system.

INFLUENCER PERSPECTIVE

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