Trump backers converge on vote centers

Dozens of angry supporters of President Donald Trump converged on vote-counting centers in Detroit and Phoenix as the returns went against him Wednesday in the two key states, while thousands of anti-Trump protesters demanding a complete tally of the ballots in the still-undecided election took to the streets in cities across the U.S.

“Stop the count!” the Trump supporters chanted in Detroit. “Stop the steal!” they said in Phoenix.

The protests came as the president insisted without evidence that there were major problems with the voting and the ballot counting, especially with mail-in votes, and as Republicans filed suit in various states over the election.

Wearing Trump gear, the Phoenix protesters filled much of the parking lot at the Maricopa County election center, and members of the crowd chanted, “Fox News sucks!” in anger over the network declaring Joe Biden the winner in Arizona.

Rep. Paul Gosar, an Arizona Republican and staunch Trump supporter, joined the crowd, declaring: “We’re not going to let this election be stolen. Period.”

However, observers from both major political parties were inside the election center as ballots were processed and counted, and the procedure was live-streamed online at all times.

Several sheriff’s deputies blocked the entrance to the building. And the vote-counting went on into the night, Maricopa County Elections Department spokeswoman Megan Gilbertson said.

25 PHOTOSProtests following the U.S. Presidential ElectionSee GalleryProtests following the U.S. Presidential ElectionDETROIT, MI – NOVEMBER 4: Election challengers demand to enter to observe the absentee ballots counting but were dined after the room reached capacity during the 2020 general election in Detroit, Michigan on Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020. (Photo by Salwan Georges/The Washington Post via Getty Images)An elections worker rubs his head in the closing hours where absentee ballots were processed at the central counting board, Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)Election challengers yell as they look through the windows of the central counting board as police were helping to keep additional challengers from entering due to overcrowding, Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)Police block off traffic at the entrance to the central counting board where ballots in the general election are counted in the city at the tcf Center in Detroit, Mich., Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020. (AP Photo/David Goldman)Election challengers, left, wait outside after an election official, right, closed the door to the central counting board, Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020, in Detroit. Officials were saying the challenger quotas were met by Republicans, Democrats and Independent observers. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)Betsy Camardo, who supports Democratic presidential nominee and former Vice President Joe Biden, holds a sign outside the central counting board where ballots in the general election are counted in the city at the TCF Center in Detroit, Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020. (AP Photo/David Goldman)Absentee ballots are processed at the central counting board, Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)Biden supporter Maceo Rhodes, left, debates with Trump supporter Bill Boring outside the central counting board where ballots in the general election are counted in the city at the TCF Center in Detroit, Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020. (AP Photo/David Goldman)People attend a rally calling for every vote to be counted from yesterday’s general election near the Detroit Department of Elections building in Detroit, Mich., Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020. (AP Photo/David Goldman)Dorothy Hawkins, from left, Nia Winston and Zinnia Patcas, supporters of Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden, look on their phones as news breaks that Wisconsin is called for Biden during a rally calling for very cote to be counted near the Detroit Department of Elections building in Detroit, Mich., Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020. (AP Photo/David Goldman)DETROIT, MI – NOVEMBER 04: Pro-President Donald Trump and pro-Joe Biden protesters argue outside the TCF Center as votes continue to be counted on November 4, 2020 in Detroit, Michigan. With ballots still being counted in Michigan, the Trump campaign has filed a lawsuit to temporarily stop the counting until the campaign can gain “meaningful access” to the processing. (Photo by Matthew Hatcher/Getty Images)Protesters hold “Count every vote” signs outside of the TCF center where ballots are being counted in downtown Detroit, Michigan on November 4,2020. – Democratic presidential challenger Joe Biden on November 4 neared the magic number of 270 electoral votes needed to win the White House with several battleground states still in play, as incumbent President Donald Trump challenged the vote count. (Photo by SETH HERALD / AFP) (Photo by SETH HERALD/AFP via Getty Images)Supporters of US President Donald Trump gather outside TCF Center where absentee ballots for the 2020 general election are being counted, on November 4, 2020 in Detroit, Michigan. – Democratic presidential challenger Joe Biden on November 4 neared the magic number of 270 electoral votes needed to win the White House with several battleground states still in play, as incumbent President Donald Trump challenged the vote count. (Photo by JEFF KOWALSKY / AFP) (Photo by JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP via Getty Images)DETROIT, MI – NOVEMBER 04: A police officer separates protesters after an altercation erupted outside of the TCF center in Detroit as votes continue to be counted inside on November 4, 2020 in Detroit, Michigan. With ballots still being counted in Michigan, the Trump campaign has filed a lawsuit to temporarily stop the counting until the campaign can gain “meaningful access” to the processing. (Photo by Matthew Hatcher/Getty Images)Supporters of US President Donald Trump gesture and chant slogans as they gather outside the room where absentee ballots for the 2020 general election are being counted at TCF Center on November 4, 2020 in Detroit, Michigan. – Democratic presidential challenger Joe Biden on November 4 neared the magic number of 270 electoral votes needed to win the White House with several battleground states still in play, as incumbent President Donald Trump challenged the vote count. (Photo by JEFF KOWALSKY / AFP) (Photo by JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP via Getty Images)A police officer gestures to supporters of US President Donald Trump gathered outside the room where absentee ballots for the 2020 general election are being counted at TCF Center on November 4, 2020 in Detroit, Michigan. – Democratic presidential challenger Joe Biden on November 4 neared the magic number of 270 electoral votes needed to win the White House with several battleground states still in play, as incumbent President Donald Trump challenged the vote count. (Photo by JEFF KOWALSKY / AFP) (Photo by JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP via Getty Images)Supporters of US President Donald Trump gesture and chant slogans as they gather outside the room where absentee ballots for the 2020 general election are being counted at TCF Center on November 4, 2020 in Detroit, Michigan. – Democratic presidential challenger Joe Biden on November 4 neared the magic number of 270 electoral votes needed to win the White House with several battleground states still in play, as incumbent President Donald Trump challenged the vote count. (Photo by JEFF KOWALSKY / AFP) (Photo by JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP via Getty Images)Supporters of President Donald Trump pause for prayer during a rally outside the Maricopa County Recorders Office, Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)Supporters of President Donald Trump rally outside the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office, Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)President Donald Trump supporters rally, Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020, outside the Maricopa County Recorders Office in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)President Donald Trump supporters kneel as they rally, Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020, outside the Maricopa County Recorders Office in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)President Trump supporters gather for a voters rights rally, Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020, at the Capitol in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)PHOENIX, AZ – NOVEMBER 04: President Donald Trump supporters gather to protest the election results at the Maricopa County Elections Department office on November 4, 2020 in Phoenix, Arizona. The rally was organized after yesterday’s vote narrowly turned for Democrats in the presidential and senate races.(Photo by Courtney Pedroza/Getty Images)PHOENIX, AZ – NOVEMBER 04: President Donald Trump supporters gather to protest the election results at the Maricopa County Elections Department office on November 4, 2020 in Phoenix, Arizona. The rally was organized after yesterday’s vote narrowly turned for Democrats in the presidential and senate races.(Photo by Courtney Pedroza/Getty Images)PHOENIX, AZ – NOVEMBER 04: President Donald Trump supporters gather to protest the election results at the Maricopa County Elections Department office on November 4, 2020 in Phoenix, Arizona. The rally was organized after yesterday’s vote narrowly turned for Democrats in the presidential and senate races.(Photo by Courtney Pedroza/Getty Images)Up Next

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Two top county officials — one a Democrat, the other a Republican — issued a statement expressing concern about how misinformation had spread about the integrity of the election process.

“Everyone should want all the votes to be counted, whether they were mailed or cast in person,” said the statement signed by Clint Hickman, the GOP chair of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, and Democratic Supervisor Steve Gallardo. “An accurate vote takes time. … This is evidence of democracy, not fraud.”

Meanwhile, from New York City to Seattle, thousands of demonstrators turned out to demand that every vote be tallied.

In Portland, Oregon, which has been a scene of regular protests for months, Gov. Kate Brown called out the National Guard as demonstrators engaged in what authorities said was widespread violence downtown, including smashing windows. Protesters in Portland were demonstrating about a range of issues, including police brutality and the counting of the vote.

“It’s important to trust the process, and the system that has ensured free and fair elections in this country through the decades, even in times of great crisis,” Brown said in a statement. “We are all in this together.”

Richard March came to an anti-Trump demonstration in Portland despite a heart condition that makes him vulnerable to COVID-19.

“To cast doubt on this election has terrible consequences for our democracy,” he said. “I think we are a very polarized society now — and I’m worried about what’s going to come in the next days and weeks and months.”

In New York, hundreds of people paraded past boarded-up luxury stores on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue, and in Chicago, demonstrators marched through downtown and along a street across the river from Trump Tower.

Similar protests — sometimes about the election, sometimes about racial inequality — took place in at least a half-dozen cities, including Los Angeles, Houston, Pittsburgh, Minneapolis and San Diego.

They chanted ‘stop the count’ and ‘stop the vote’

The confrontation in Detroit started shortly before The Associated Press declared that Biden had won Michigan.

Video shot by local media showed angry people gathered outside the TCF Center and inside the lobby, with police officers lined up to keep them from entering the vote-counting area. They chanted, “Stop the count!” and “Stop the vote!”

Earlier, the Republican campaign filed suit in a bid to halt the count, demanding Michigan’s Democratic secretary of state allow in more inspectors.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, a Democrat, insisted both parties and the public had been given access to the tallying, “using a robust system of checks and balances to ensure that all ballots are counted fairly and accurately.”

Michigan has been on edge for months over fears of political violence. Anti-government protesters openly carried guns into the state Capitol during protests over coronavirus restrictions in the spring, and six men were arrested last month on charges of plotting to kidnap Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer

On Election Night, scattered protests broke after voting ended, stretching from Washington, D.C., to Seattle, but there was no widespread unrest or significant violence.

The prolonged task of counting this year’s deluge of mail-in votes raised fears that the lack of clarity in the presidential race could spark unrest.

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