Americans assemble in protests and rallies across the country as votes are counted

November 5, 2020, 1:16 AM UTC
Updated November 5, 2020, 4:18 PM UTC

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As Americans waited for the final results of the 2020 presidential election, citizens across the nation took to the streets on Wednesday to fight for or against counting every vote.

Marchers in cities including Chicago, Minneapolis, Washington, D.C., and New York hoisted banners and signs and chanted “Count every vote.” In Detroit, residents called for officials to stop counting. And in North Carolina and Philadelphia, people on both ends of the spectrum participated in public demonstrations.

The gatherings formed as results of the races in several states, including Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Georgia, were still too close to call. At the same time, President Donald Trump lobbed lawsuits at the battleground states of Pennsylvania and Michigan to stop the vote count, claiming that campaign observers haven’t had enough access to review the process. The President also called for a recount in Wisconsin.

Gatherings spread from city to city as Wednesday evening progressed. Here’s what happened in some of those locations.


“Count Every Vote” protest in Philadelphia, Nov. 4, 2020.
Kevin R. Wexler—

Pennsylvania is at the center of political controversy for two reasons:

The state, which still hasn’t reported the majority of its results, could be key to determining the presidency. Meanwhile, protesters are calling for racial justice after police fatally shot Walter Wallace Jr., a 27-year-old Black man who was carrying a knife at the time.

On Wednesday, hundreds of people gathered around Philadelphia’s City Hall—some chanting “Count every vote,” while others waited for the police to release body-cam video showing how Wallace was shot. Meanwhile, a group of Trump supporters gathered to support their cause, which has quickly mobilized around the hashtag #StopTheSteal.


Election Protests 2020-Michigan
Election challengers yell as they look through the windows of the central counting board in Detroit on Nov. 4, 2020.
Carlos Osorio—AP Images

Michigan is another state that’s at the center of the rift between the two presidential candidates.

The Associated Press on Wednesday declared Biden had won Michigan. But even before the call, Trump’s campaign filed a lawsuit in the state contesting the results.

At Detroit’s downtown TCF convention center, where ballots continue to be counted, groups of people gathered to chant “Stop the count.” Guards blocked the door to ensure election officials could continue their work.

Graham, N.C.

Election Protests 2020-North Carolina
Marchers in the Push to the Polls March, led by Rev. Greg Drumwright, hold a rally at the Alamance County Historical Courthouse on Nov. 3, 2020, in Graham, N.C.
Ricky Carioti—The Washington Post/Getty Images
Election Protests 2020-North Carolina
A demonstrator yelling “Trump 2020” waves his Confederate flag during the Push to the Polls March in Graham, N.C., on Nov. 3, 2020.

Black Lives Matter supporters in Graham, N.C., were met by a small group of Trump backers on Wednesday. On display was a stark contrast between BLM banners and Confederate flags.

As of press time, however, there had been no reports of violence or arrests during the demonstrations—a much different picture than just a few days ago. Black Lives Matter supporters were pepper sprayed after marching to the Graham courthouse polling location on Saturday. Civil rights groups have since filed lawsuits.


In Chicago, a group gathered at Daley Plaza carrying signs that said, “Free & fair” and “Count every vote,” hoping to send a message to officials across the nation.

Some videos taken from the scene show marchers carrying drums and cowbells, chanting “Trump, Pence, out now” as they make their way through the plaza.


President Trump’s supporters gather to protest the election results at the Maricopa County Elections Department office on Nov. 4, 2020 in Phoenix.
Courtney Pedroza/Getty Images

Pro-Trump protesters, several of whom reportedly were armed, chanted “Count those votes” and “Stop the steal” outside of the Maricopa County Elections Department, where ballots were being counted on Wednesday night. The county sheriff’s department locked down the building to protect the people still counting votes inside.

Arizona is another state Trump has watched closely, as Biden maintains a narrow lead. On Election Night, Trump claimed that some news organizations had prematurely declared the outcome in that state. The AP is among the organizations that have declared Biden won the 11 electoral votes in that state.

Voters reportedly have raised concerns over rumors that the county lent voters Sharpie pens to cast their votes, allegedly making them invalid, according to the Arizona Republic. The Arizona Attorney General’s Office is investigating the claim but clarified that all ballots, regardless of what kind of pen was used, will be counted.

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