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November 05, 2020

'Count Every Vote' demonstrations continue downtown as Philadelphia tallies mail-in ballots

"Stop the Vote" counter-protestors reportedly gathered nearby Thursday morning to demand that vote-counting stop

2020 Election Protests
count every vote protest Aimee Dilger/SIPA USA

Several different protests took place in Philadelphia Wednesday afternoon to Thursday morning as residents urged Philly officials to keep counting votes for the 2020 election, stop counting votes, or to end police brutality and violence brought to light in the wake of the fatal police shooting of Walter Wallace Jr.

Protests urging Philadelphia officials to keep counting mail-in ballots continued throughout the day Thursday as Pennsylvania neared its final vote count. 

"Count Every Vote" demonstrations began Wednesday afternoon outside Philadelphia's Independence Hall, where protestors gathered before marching west towards City Hall. They eventually merged with Walter Wallace demonstrators, who marched Wednesday evening after officials released police footage of the fatal shooting.

Protestors urged Philly officials to not cease counting mail-in ballots despite mounting pressure from a Trump lawsuit aimed at temporarily halting the counting of ballots, until campaign observers were allowed to more closely watch vote-counting.

Trump's administration won court approval on Thursday, permitting campaign observers greater access. Vote-counting was momentarily halted just before 12 p.m. at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philly, and then quickly resumed, according to the Inquirer.  

"Count Every Vote" protestors included members of several local activist and progressive groups, including Protect Our Vote Philly and Socialist Alternative. They were joined by a handful of Philadelphia elected officials Wednesday.

Later Wednesday night, both "Count the Vote" protestors arguing to uphold democracy in Philadelphia and Walter Wallace protestors demonstrating against police brutality and racism joined together, forming one large group. 

Demonstrators gathered again early Thursday morning for a protest scheduled to meet at 12th and Arch Street near the Pennsylvania Convention Center, where Philadelphia's votes are being counted. 

The crowd was still present outside the Center by the afternoon. Philly's famous dancing Elmo was spotted with a group of musicians playing tubas and drums and dancing with other demonstrators. Protestors held "Black Lives Matter" and Biden/Harris signs.

They were met by a smaller group of counter-protestors, holding calling to "Stop the Vote," in support of Trump legal actions. These protestors were spotted holding signs with slogans that read, among others, "Sorry, polls are closed"  and "Voting ends on Election Day," and other with Trump-Pence reelection signs.

"Stop the Vote" counter-protestors grew in number throughout the day and remained there in the afternoon. Police barricades and officers kept them separated from "Count Every Vote" protestors.

As of Thursday, there were still approximately 100,000 ballots submitted by mail yet to be counted in Philadelphia alone. Pennsylvania officials said Thursday that vote-counting could be completed today, potentially deciding the outcome of the presidential election.

The state is now one of four key battleground states that could possibly decide the race. Special attention is being paid to Pennsylvania due to its high number of electoral votes. 

If the current trend of mail-in ballots tallied in favor of Joe Biden holds, Pennsylvania could turn blue despite Trump's early lead, giving the state's 20 electoral votes, and the election, to Biden.


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