- Crowds of vote challengers – partisan individuals who are allowed to observe while ballots are counted – clashed with police and election officials Wednesday afternoon at the TCF Centre in Detroit, Michigan.
- The over the capacity of the arena’s vote-tallying area, according to videos posted online and local reports.
- The Detroit Free Press reported that challengers first began arriving at the downtown arena shortly after Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden was reported to hold an early lead in the battleground state.
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Crowds of vote challengers clashed with election officials Wednesday afternoon at the TCF Centre in Detroit, Michigan, as chaos erupted over the capacity of the arena’s vote-tallying area, according to tweets and local reports.
Vote challengers are allowed in the state of Michigan to enter the place where ballot counting is taking place and observe the counting on behalf of political parties or interest groups. Guidelines from the state’s Board of Elections say challengers must have “good reason to believe” a given voter is not eligible to vote in the precinct to intervene in the counting of their vote.
Police confronted crowds outside the vote-tallying room as Republican and Democratic supporters alike were shut out of the room, where the state’s process allows for 134 challengers from each group to remain in the vote-tallying area, according to The Detroit Free Press. The challengers approached the counting area while workers in the process of tallying around 25,000 absentee ballots.
The Free Press reported “within hours” of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden taking the lead in the battleground state, more than 100 challengers arrived at the arena to roam the floor while poll workers tabulated votes.
By 1 p.m., officials told challengers arriving at the arena had reached capacity, sparking objections from both Democrats and Republicans looking to monitor the votes, according to the Free Press.
Fox News correspondent Matt Finn posted a video on Twitter from the arena that shows official covering the room’s windows with large white sheets.
The scene at Detroit’s absentee ballot counting center is growing more heated. The windows now being covered up. Allegations of violations. Sec. of State says she welcomes challenges. pic.twitter.com/oUL4A0h3Ku
— Matt Finn (@MattFinnFNC) November 4, 2020
Protesters demanding officials “stop the count” were met by police at the door to the arena, according to a video posted by Steve Patterson of NBC News.
They’re being blocked by guards at the door.
— Steve Patterson (@PattersonNBC) November 4, 2020
By Wednesday afternoon, 570 challengers had made their way inside the arena. The group included 227 Republicans, 268 Democrats, and 75 non-partisan advocacy challengers, according to the Free Press.
The crowd’s clash came shortly after it was reported President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign filed a suit in Michigan to stop counting votes in the state “until meaningful access” is granted “to observe the opening of ballots and the counting process, as guaranteed by Michigan law,” Business Insider previously reported.