Demonstrators supporting President Donald Trump, holding signs and American flags, stood outside Maricopa County, Arizona Elections Department on Wednesday while workers continued to count ballots in the U.S. presidential election.
Voting in Arizona was a controversial issue in this year’s elections. On Tuesday, Fox News predicted that the Democratic presidential candidate, Joe Biden, would win the state, prompting some observers to claim that the network made the call too soon. Some voters in Arizona may have been influenced by social media videos that claimed that ballots filled with a felt-tip pen were not counted by tabulating machines.
Some of the protesters were seen carrying firearms. Arizona is a state where firearms are carried openly. Due to the protests, the building was closed to both the public and the media. However, the workers stayed behind to continue counting.
“The workers of the @maricopacounty Elections Department will continue our work, which consists of administering the elections in the second largest electoral jurisdiction in the district,” a tweet from the Maricopa County Elections Department said. “We will publish results again tonight as planned. We thank the @mcsaoz for doing their work so that we can do ours.”
The staff of @maricopacounty Election Department will continue our work, which consists in managing the elections in the second largest electoral jurisdiction of the district. As planned, we will publish results again tonight. We thank the @mcsoaz for doing their work so that we can do ours.
– Electoral Administration of Maricopa District (@MaricopaVote) November 5, 2020
Members of the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Department were called into the building in case the protests became violent.
Maricopa County Sheriffâs deputies are now in tactical gear inside the voting center, ready to potentially engage protesters and protesters outside as the crowd continues to grow. #azfamily #arizona pic.twitter.com/XAhvE1hbIK
– Briana Whitney (@BrianaWhitney) November 5, 2020
According to a statement sent to Washington Newsday Thursday morning, the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office “was watching the crowd. At this time the crowd is peaceful and no arrests or citations have been issued”.
Maricopa County is the largest county in Arizona with over 4 million residents. Both Trump and the Democratic presidential candidate, Joe Biden, hope to win the state’s 11 electoral votes. During an early morning press conference on Wednesday, Trump said that there were still “a lot of votes left in Arizona that we could get. Trump also claimed that he did not need to win Arizona to win re-election.
After Fox News predicted a Biden victory in Arizona on Tuesday, Senior Trump consultant Jason Miller tweeted that it was “far too early” to make that decision. Fox News has refused to retract the forecast. The Associated Press also called Arizona for Biden early Wednesday morning, with 80 percent of the votes tabulated.
Some Arizona voters saw the controversy over the use of markers on ballot papers as evidence of voter fraud. In a Wednesday interview with CNN, Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs exposed the theory that tipping markers somehow invalidated the ballots.
“All these ballots will be counted,” Hobbs said. “And even if the machines can’t read them for some reason, the marker has bled through to the other side. We have ways of counting them.”…