How Are People Responding To The Contested Election?

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Many people are protesting in response to the uncertainty over the result of the U.S. presidential election. President Trump has prematurely claimed victory, baselessly alleged voter fraud, and filed numerous lawsuits. Here are just some of the protests that have happened as a result.

What types of mass actions are happening?

More and more protests have popped up since Election Day, and their origins can be traced back to long before Election Day. On October 1, Trump’s campaign sued Philadelphia because the city planned to prevent poll watchers from surveilling its polling offices. Today, at the Philadelphia Convention Center’s entrance on Arch and 12th Streets, pro-Trump protesters gathered, as did other protests demanding that all votes be counted. Vote counting began in the convention center on Tuesday.

This protest quickly became a large block party filled with progressive protesters waving signs with phrases such as “surrender to democracy,” “Black votes matter,” and “count every vote.” On the north side of the intersection, pro-Trump protestors faced the opposing demonstrators with signs saying phrases such as, “Sorry, polls are closed,” “Evangelicals for Trump,” and “Make America Great Again.” This event followed a day on which many Philadelphians participated in at least three demonstratrions.

In Phoenix, a city as prominent a battleground as Philadelphia, 150 pro-Trump protestors protested outside vote-counting facilities in Phoenix on Wednesday night. Some of the pro-Trump protesters were armed, with their weapons displayed as they gathered outside the county recorder’s office to surveil the city’s vote tallying. 

Similarly, in Detroit, a group of pro-Trump poll watchers protested a ballot-counting center. They demanded that polling officials “stop the count” of ballots after the Trump campaign filed suit to halt Michigan’s vote count. However, Michigan has already been declared a victory for Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.

Where else are protests happening?

Protesters have also been marching in major cities that aren’t battleground states, often chanting for election officials to count every vote. People have been publically voicing their concerns and marching in New York City, Minneapolis, Portland, Seattle, and the battleground cities named earlier. 

Today in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, pro-Trump protestors occupied the Pennsylvania Capitol building. On Wednesday in Seattle, some left-wing groups held demonstrations in the city’s parks such as Westlake Park and Occidental Park. 

How are Trump supporters responding?

Many Trump supporters, including newly elected Republican Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene – a supporter of QAnon, an anti-Democrat and anti-Semitic pro-Trump conspiracy group – have been tweeting unfounded claims unfounded voter fraud claims. QAnon supporters have used the hashtag “#WWG1WGA“, which means “Where We Go One We Go All,” to encourage Trump supporters to protest. Trump supporters have been using the more popular hashtag “#StopTheSteal” and chanting the phrase at protests to reference the baseless belief that there is nationwide voter fraud.

Federal officials have publicly said on several occasions that there is no evidence of widespread voter fraud that significantly affects presidential elections. In early September, FBI Director Christopher Wray debunked nationally coordinated voter fraud claims in major elections, including ballots submitted by mail. In August, federal officials said no evidence shows that “foreign adversaries” interfere with mail-in votes.

What’s next?

Before the new president is announced, Americans will most likely continue to hear pro-Trump supporters echoing Trump’s “stop the count” tweet. More importantly, the Trump administration is likely to pursue additional lawsuits to stop vote counting or disqualify ballots in certain locations. Protests may continue as news develops.

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