Detroit Chaplain Says Black Vote Will Not Be Deterred by 'Stop the Count' Protest: 'We've Gone From Picking Cotton to Picking Presidents'

A chaplain in Detroit, Michigan, had a resounding message for his fellow Black voters in the city, insisting that the demographic would show out for Democratic candidate Joe Biden despite supporters of President Donald Trump protesting as elections officials continued counting ballots into Wednesday evening.

"We are in the process of wanting to get all the votes counted," the chaplain, who was not identified by name, told MSNBC in a video clip that's been viewed more than 1.2 million times. "The road to victory of any fight is going to come through Michigan and through Detroit...We want every vote to count, cause our vote is our voice, and it will be counted, and the election process will be done. Things are secure on the inside, but of course we have intimidating efforts on the outside, but we're not deterred."

Chaplain in Detroit on the “stop the count” protests:

“We’re not deterred … The Black vote in Detroit is higher than it’s ever been and we will determine the outcome — because we’ve gone from picking cotton to picking presidents.” #Election2020

— The Recount (@therecount) November 4, 2020

The chaplain was standing outside the TCF Center in downtown Detroit, where at least four tables of election workers were still counting ballots. Both Democrats and Republicans had gathered outside the ballot counting area, pounding on doors and windows.

Supporters of the president shouted, "Let us in" and "Stop the count," causing police officers to push back crowds as they argued, the Detroit Free Press reported. The Associated Press declared Biden as the winner in Michigan at about 6 p.m. ET, despite election workers continuing to count ballots in Wayne County, which encompasses Detroit.

But the Trump campaign, which has made repeated baseless claims of voter fraud and other irregularities, filed a lawsuit in a Michigan court on Wednesday afternoon demanding that ballot counting in the state be temporarily brought to a halt until it is given "meaningful" access in numerous locations and allowed to review ballots that already have been opened and processed, the AP reported.

Michigan Voter
Protesters attend a "Count On Us" rally at the Michigan State Capitol building on November 04, 2020 in Lansing, Michigan. People gathered to demand that all votes be counted in the 2020 election before any candidate declares victory. John Moore/Getty

According to the AP's tabulation, Biden has received 50.3 percent of the state's votes, compared to Trump's 48.1 percent. And early numbers coming from Wayne County suggest that the Democratic candidate performed particularly well. The county is typically a Democratic stronghold, although low enthusiasm among Black voters kept many voters away from the polls in 2016, according to The New York Times.

In Detroit, only half of the precincts had fully reported their ballots by the time the AP declared Biden victorious—and almost as many ballots had already been counted then as in all of the ones counted there in 2016, the Times reported.

The Detroit chaplain spoke to these numbers, claiming that Black voters in the city had turned out in record numbers this year. His demographic needs "to be persistent" and ensure their voice gets counted despite the Trump campaign's insistence that the election is rigged.

"And I will say, the Black vote of Detroit is higher than it's ever been and we will determine the outcome because we've gone from picking cotton to picking presidents," the chaplain said.