In Philadelphia, the largest city in the key swing state of Pennsylvania, the election day’s voting continued largely without the tensions that many feared. But with the final results not expected for several days, the excitement is far from over.
If media reports were an indication, leading up to this year’s presidential election Philadelphia at the helm.
In the final stretch of his campaign, US President Donald Trump made the city the focal point of baseless allegations of voter fraud. He declared from the stage of his first debate with Democratic candidate Joe Biden that “bad things are happening in Philadelphia” and went on to use such allegations to drum up support for what he called an “army” of pollsters, which many concerned could stand behind. widespread choice intimidation.
Still, those concerns did little to deter Philadelphia voters from voting, election day came. Instead, the day was marked by high turnout, which increased the large number of early votes cast in previous weeks. It’s an indicator that is closely watched in a city where a sharp drop in black turnout contributed to Trump’s disrupted victory in Pennsylvania in 2016 by just 44,000 votes.
At Mitchell Elementary School, a polling station in the Kingsessing section of predominantly Black West Philadelphia, hundreds of voters stood in line as polls opened at 6 p.m. 7, and several continued to seep in through the afternoon.
Local election official Christina Williams told Jowharthat there were “definitely more people” in the polls than usual this year, in addition to the many more who voted for the post. Still, she said the process was “smooth” everywhere, with few voters having to wait longer than 20 minutes.
Christina Williams, secretary of Philadelphia’s 51st constituency outside Mitchell Elementary School, a West Philadelphia polling station. © Colin Kinniburgh, France 24
Williams serves as secretary of Philadelphia’s 51st Division, one of the city’s 66 constituencies, and has won many elections. Another factor also surprised her this year: the number of people who turned up at the polls after skipping several elections. Many of their registrations had lapsed, forcing them to cast preliminary ballots.
Williams said that although she had already voted in the mail, she felt it was important to spend the day at the polls to “ensure that society is comfortable with their right to vote”. She said concerns about the choice of intimidation were well-founded after Trump supporters in the Philadelphia area drove a caravan to the city center Sunday and blocked traffic.
In late October, members of the Trump campaign were also reported to be filming Philadelphia voters depositing their ballots in boxes that Pennsylvania’s attorney general said could constitute illegal intimidation.
Sam Moore, a 70-year-old volunteer with One PA, came to the polls to protect himself against just such incidents. Through the group, he joined Election Defenders, a nationwide progressive coalition that sought to keep voters safe and protect them from intimidation.
Sam Moore, volunteer in One PA and the non-partisan electoral defense coalition. © Colin Kinniburgh, France 24
“We have not encountered any problems so far,” he said Tuesday afternoon. Instead, Moore said he had mostly helped voters with logistics. He was encouraged by the constant turnout, especially among new voters.
Shakeem Nelson, 19, was among the first-time voters. Like all those at Mitchell Elementary who told Jowharwho they voted for, Nelson Democrats voted up and down the vote. But he said he and his peers are not very political.
“All we know is, do not vote for Trump,” he said. When asked to cast his first-ever vote in a historic presidential election, he added: “It felt normal. It felt good. ”
Shakeem Nelson, 19, voted for the first time Tuesday. © Colin Kinniburgh, France 24
Legal challenges are expected
What is less clear is how long that sense of normality lasts now that the polls are closed. A final count of Pennsylvania’s votes is not expected for at least several days. Kl. 12:30 Eastern Time Wednesday, the first return gives Donald Trump a strong lead in the state, but the count includes less than two-thirds of all votes across the country and only about one-third in Philadelphia, which leans strongly democratically.
Mail-in polls are also expected to continue to seep in for another three days during an extension temporarily approved by the Supreme Court. However, the court required the state to separate any mail-in ballot that arrives after election day and reserves the right to rule on their validity at a later date.
If Tuesday’s return proves to be close enough, it could put the fate of this key state in the hands of the nation’s Supreme Court, making it one of the most likely sites for a Bush v. Gore-style challenge with the final results. Philadelphia-based election analyst Jonathan Tannen, who maintains blog Sixty-Six Wards, calls this a likely outcome based on returns so far.
We end up where we knew we were all along. Trump will show up in the counted votes at the end of the night. But mail-ins will favor Biden greatly. Count each vote. pic.twitter.com/Rz2JqZy1VD
– Sixty-Six Wards (@sixtysixwards) November 4, 2020
“We’re going to end up where we knew we were all along,” he wrote on Twitter. “Trump will appear in the counted votes at the end of the night. But mail-ins will favor Biden greatly. Count each vote. ”
This means that the final results in this central battlefield can come down to a combination of turnout, courts – and patience.