The local sheriff's office stationed officers outside the election center in Maricopa County to contain the protesters

By Benjamin VanHoose
November 05, 2020 09:34 AM
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Protesters rally outside the Maricopa County Recorders Office in Phoenix, Arizona.
| Credit: Matt York/AP/Shutterstock

Enraged protesters rallied outside an election center in Arizona claiming the election was being stolen from the Republican Party and President Donald Trump.

The typically red state saw demonstrators gather with flags in support of the president, as the protesters attempted to get inside the Maricopa County Recorder's Office in Phoenix, Arizona, on Wednesday, according to KNXV. About 300 people were gathered, NBC News reports, and shouted "count the votes."

Though the state has been called in favor of Democratic candidate Joe Biden by the Associated Press and other outlets, Arizona continues to be a close race, with thousands of uncounted ballots still being processed by officials.

Local sheriffs lined the entrance of the facility as the crowds expanded. According to the AP, observers from both the Republican and Democratic parties are already stationed inside the building to oversee the counting process, which is also livestreamed online for transparency.

"Staff at the @maricopacounty Elections Department will continue our job, which is to administer elections in the second largest voting jurisdiction in the county," the department tweeted late Wednesday night. "... We thank the @mcsoaz for doing their job, so we can do ours."

Other demonstrations popped up in cities across the country — including Portland, New York, Los Angeles, Denver, Pittsburgh and Chicago — as one side called for every vote to be tallied, and the other demanded the count be stopped. Most of the protests remained peaceful, though some resulted in confrontations and arrests.

Credit: Courtney Pedroza/Getty Images

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The protests come after Trump, 74, falsely claimed victory on election night and claimed that votes counted after Tuesday would be fraudulent, even if filed legally by local deadlines. Countless commentators and politicians (including Republicans) slammed the president's comments accusing an unidentified “they” of trying to “STEAL” the election in a tweet.

Additionally, Trump directly told his supporters during a presidential debate leading up to the election to "go into the polls and watch very carefully," arguing at the time, without evidence, there would be some kind of voter fraud — a thinly veiled attempt at voter intimidation or voter suppression.

As battleground states like Pennsylvania continue to count ballots that were mailed in, Trump has repeatedly — and baselessly — disparaged the process as fraudulent. “They are finding Biden votes all over the place — in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan. So bad for our Country!” he tweeted Wednesday morning.

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In New York City on Wednesday, the police department shared photos of officers putting out small fires on the sidewalk after reports of protests Wednesday night. "We support everyone's right to self-expression, but setting fires puts others at risk and will not be tolerated," the department wrote, adding that they are "working to de-escalate the situation."

According to The Oregonian, Gov. Kate Brown activated the Oregon National Guard after the situation was declared a riot.

"Across the United States, elections officials are working hard to ensure that every vote is counted, and it may be several days until we know the results of this election," Brown said in a statement. "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."

"All Oregonians have the right to free expression and peaceful assembly. But political violence, intimidation, and property destruction will not be tolerated," she added. "We are all in this together — so let’s work together to keep our fellow Oregonians safe."