Trump supporters protest outdoors the Arizona election middle

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© Reuters. 2020 U.S. presidential election in Arizona

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By Mimi Dwyer

PHOENIX (Reuters) – A crowd of Donald Trump supporters, some armed with rifles and handguns, gathered outside a polling center in Arizona Wednesday night after unsubstantiated rumors emerged that the votes for the Republican president were deliberately not counted.

Most of the exposed demonstrators sang “Stop the Steal!” And “Count my Vote” in front of the electoral department of Maricopa County in Phoenix, when Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden had a wafer-thin lead in the critical battlefield state. Some news outlets have called Arizona about Biden, but Trump’s campaign says it’s still in the game.

A win for Biden in Arizona would give the Democrat 11 votes, a major boost to his ambition to win the White House, while also severely limiting Trump’s path to re-election in a state won by the Republican in 2016.

On election night, Fox News and the Associated Press Arizona called Biden even though only a little over 70% of the votes had been counted, angering Trump and his aides.

Some of the 200 or so protesters faced by a number of armed county sheriffs chanted “Shame on Fox!” Some said they came out after a tweet from Mike Cernovich, a right wing activist.

Chris Michael, 40, of Gilbert, Ariz., Said he came to make sure all the votes are counted. He said he wanted to ensure that the count was “ethical and legal”.

Rumors spread on Facebook (NASDAQ: NASDAQ: www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-election-arizona-sharpie/sharpiegate-allegations-fuel-unproven-claims-of-voter-fraud-in-arizona-idUSKBN27K2QO) . Tuesday evening that some Maricopa votes were not counted because voters used Sharpie pens to mark their ballot papers. Local election officials insisted this was not true.

With counting pending in several key states, Trump has accused Democrats of attempting to steal elections without evidence and has filed vote counting lawsuits in several states.

A similar scene took place in downtown Detroit on Wednesday afternoon, where city election officials prevented about 30 people, mostly Republicans, from entering a vote counting hall, amid unsubstantiated claims that the count was fraudulent.

Trump has filed a lawsuit in Michigan to end the vote count that the Secretary of State called https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-election-michigan-lawsuit/michigan-secretary-of-state-calls- Trump-Klage-frivolous-idUSKBN27L065 “frivolous”.

The protests mirrored the “Brooks Brother Uprising” during the Florida recount of 2000 that ultimately handed the presidency to Republican George W. Bush. A crowd of blazer-clad Republican protesters stormed a hand-counting building in a heavily Democratic district, forcing election officials to stop counting the ballots.

The protest is now seen as a major event in maintaining Bush’s low voting advantage in Florida. The US Supreme Court eventually stopped the Florida recount and handed over the presidency and defeat to Democrat Al Gore.

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