Armed Trump supporters force Arizona election centre to shut down as they gather outside screaming 'Stop the count'
MARICOPA COUNTY, ARIZONA: Maricopa County in Arizona is closing its ballot-counting facility amid safety concerns for staff and media as many supporters of President Donald Trump who are armed have gathered outside the building. While poll workers will be continuing to count ballots and report results, there is a growing protest taking place outside. The Maricopa County Elections Department took to Twitter to release a statement on Wednesday, October 4, "Staff at the @maricopacounty Elections Department will continue our job, which is to administer elections in the second-largest voting jurisdiction in the county."
"We will release results again tonight as planned. We thank the (Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office) for doing their job, so we can do ours," the statement continued. Arizona GOP congressman Paul Gosar was seen amongst the crowd that had gathered outside the building.
The protesters were seen waving Trump flags and were heard chanting, "Fox News sucks!" and "Count the votes!" for several hours. Fox News and many other media outlets had called the Arizona presidential race late on Election Night for Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. However, mail-in ballots that are continuing to come could favor Trump.
Trump supporters in Arizona chanting "Fox News sucks" pic.twitter.com/2AhyVXCMhu— Andrew Lawrence (@ndrew_lawrence) November 5, 2020
One CNN journalist was trapped in an Arizona ballot counting center due to the Trump supporters protesting outside. Footage shared on social media from the scene showed supporters chanting "you are fake news". In response, the Maricopa County Sheriff's deputies were seen prepared and ready in tactical gear inside the centre, ready to disperse the protesters if needed.
CNN reporter, Kyung Lah was reporting live at the Maricopa center and mentioned how given Arizona is an open state, many protesters were armed. While speaking about ballot counters in the building, she shared, "I mean these people parked in that parking lot, how are they going to get out once they finish the count? Because we are expecting a count in about 20 minutes."
She shared that the ballot counters had been doing their job accurately and whatever issues there were, had been caused by the protests outside. Lah said, "This work is going to continue. 20 minutes from now, we are expecting the numbers to be released on time via a press release, and everything is running smoothly on that end."
"The work here isn’t stopping, there are no problems inside, the problems are happening outside and just trying to keep things under control so that this work can continue," she continued. The crowd had been seen gathering outside of the building and had attempted to enter the center. There have been no reports to show that the supporters had turned violent or caused any damage to vote counters and reporters.
Many social media users took to the comments section to thank the Maricopa County Elections Department for doing their job. One such user shared, "You are the best. Thank you so much for doing this despite the harassment received from uneducated Americans. We look forward to hearing the result."
Another shared, "I sincerely thank you all for your unwavering dedication and diligence! You are truly heroic! Thank you again." Yet another added, "I’m sorry a portion of our population thinks intimidation and standing outside while everyone does their job, is okay."
You are the best. Thank you so much for doing this despite the harassment received from uneducated Americans. We look forward to hearing the result.— Janet Grace (JG)🇺🇸 I VOTED💞BIDEN⚘HARRIS🇺🇸 (@JanetGraceMusic) November 5, 2020
I sincerely thank you all for your unwavering dedication and diligence! You are truly heroic! Thank you again.— Jersey Girl (Kat) 🌊🇺🇸🏳️🌈 (@JerseyGirl1910) November 5, 2020
I’m sorry a portion of our population thinks intimidation and standing outside while everyone does their job, is okay.— Holicia Olinger (@Holiciao) November 5, 2020