Trump Supporters Demand Vote Counting Stop Where President Leads, Continues Where He Trails

Hundreds of supporters of President Donald Trump are trying to disrupt election officials still counting votes in the key swing states that will decide the presidential election.

Like the campaign itself, the supporters are also demanding that counting continue in states where the president currently trails former Vice President Joe Biden and Trump believes he can overhaul the deficit.

The president was ahead in Michigan until Wednesday afternoon, but was overtaken by Biden as more mail-in absentee ballots were counted throughout the day. This pattern is holding across the country, and has put Biden on the verge of victory.

Biden is now projected to win Michigan by CNN and NBC News. A crowd of Trump supporters descended on the TCF Center in Detroit on Wednesday afternoon, where mail-in ballots for Biden had put the Democrat in a slim lead. In scenes reminiscent of Florida in 2000, protesters gathered around the doors chanting: "Stop the count! Stop the count!"

Police and officials on the scene attempted to keep the calm as tensions rose. Conservative news sites and commentators complained that officials inside had blocked the windows with cardboard during the protests, suggesting a lack of transparency.

There were similar scenes in Pennsylvania Wednesday, where protesters—including Trump attorney and attack dog Rudy Giuliani along with Eric Trump—gathered outside the Pennsylvania Convention Centre in downtown Philadelphia to try and stop vote counting in the pivotal Keystone State, whose 20 electoral votes could be the ones to push the eventual winner over the line.

Trump is still marginally ahead in the state, but at least some of the remaining mail-in ballots are expected to break heavily in Biden's favor. It could be that these votes hand Biden victory in Pennsylvania and the White House. Alternatively, they could hand the momentum back to Trump.

Giuliani announced a press conference outside the convention center, but canceled shortly before the event was due to begin. He and Eric instead relocated to an airport on the edge of town.

Giuliani echoed Trump campaign talking points, asserting without any evidence that "rampant corruption" had occurred in Philadelphia to cheat the president out of the election.

"We have no idea if they really are ballots, if they are signed, if they are postmarked properly, if it isn't just the same person who submitted one hundred thousand ballots, they all got counted. This is the way they intend to win," Giuliani said, providing no evidence to support his claims.

But elsewhere Trump supporters were holding protests demanding that every vote be counted. In Arizona—where Biden holds a slim lead over the president—some 150 Trump supporters, some armed according to the New York Times, gathered in front of the Maricopa County election chanting: "Count the vote," as officials inside did so.

Video from inside the building showed Maricopa County Sheriff's deputies donning tactical gear and preparing to potentially move on the protesters outside as the crowd grew.

Election rules allow 134 challengers for each candidate to contest the result and observe the counting process, but it appeared that more people than those allowed had gone to counting centers on Wednesday.

Detroit Free Press counted 570 challengers walking around the room where poll workers were counting the remaining 25,000 or so absentee ballots of Detroit residents. This included 227 Republicans, 268 Democrats and 75 nonpartisan challengers.

The Trump campaign, meanwhile, was engaged in its own efforts, mounting legal challenges to stop the ongoing count in Michigan and Pennsylvania while demanding voting continue in Arizona.

In Michigan, Trump's 2020 campaign manager Bill Stepien released a statement claiming that the campaign had not been granted "meaningful access" to review the counting process.

The campaign also filed lawsuits to stop ballot counting in Pennsylvania and Georgia—here the president remains ahead—and demanded a recount in Wisconsin, where Biden is believed to have narrowly edged out the president.

The president also announced on Twitter that he was claiming victory in Pennsylvania, Georgia, North Carolina, and Michigan, "for Electoral Vote purposes."

Like his Wednesday morning claim to victory, this is incorrect. Counting is still going on in all states and the races there are currency too close to call. Twitter flagged the president's tweets as potentially misleading.

Michigan, Detroit, count, Trump, protests, election
Supporters of President Donald Trump try to enter the room where absentee ballots for the 2020 general election are being counted at TCF Center on November 4, 2020 in Detroit, Michigan. SETH HERALD/AFP via Getty Images/Getty

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