When the votes for the US presidential election 2020 are presented, President Trump has discredited the legitimacy of many of the votes cast for no reason. In statements on Twitter and in a televised speech on November 5, the president accused polling workers at a polling station in Detroit, Michigan, of illegally preventing Republican election observers from monitoring the bill, citing controversial Twitter videos showing windows in the center blocked. That is why the president’s claims are misleading.
On November 4, Twitter users and reporters began sharing videos of a riot that took place in Detroit’s TCF Center, where polls were counted. This Twitter video posted by user Eric Gibbs shows a crowd of hearing challengers filming and trying to enter the room where the bill took place, its windows blocked by pieces of cardboard. A woman shouts, “If you are not corrupt, you would let me into the building.” User caption reads: “Polling guards locked out and windows blocked in Wayne County, Michigan.” [Editor’s note: poll challengers/watchers refer to people who are appointed or allowed to observe the election process in the interest of transparency.]
Another video published by reporter Matt Fin shows the same scene from inside the room, where election workers cover the windows with large pieces of white poster paper. “The scene at Detroit’s absentee ballot is getting hotter and hotter,” writes Fin. Allegations of infringements. The Secretary of State says she welcomes challenges. “The reporter added in another tweet that some pollsters and workers expressed concern that there were not a large number of Republican and Democratic challenges in the room.
Several more videos published by Eric Gibbs show police officers blocking the doors into the room when the audience shouts “Stop the bill!”, This time in front of clear windows.
Incident interpreted as “illegal” by President Trump
The next day, President Trump retweeted an article by Breitbart News, a right-wing syndicated news and publicity website known for publishing misleading stories, suggesting that workers were trying to limit transparency in the Detroit counting process.
He also quoted the incident in a speech the same day, saying that those working in the center “did not want anyone to see the bill, even if it was observers, legal observers who would be there”.
In another tweet on the subject on November 6, the president claimed that “OBSERVERS have not been allowed, in any way, form or form to do their job, and therefore votes accepted during this period must be determined to be illegal votes. ”
I easily WIN the US Presidency with LEGAL VOTES. THE OBSERVERS were not allowed, in any way, form or form, to do their job and therefore votes accepted during this period must be determined to be illegal votes. The US Supreme Court should decide!
Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 6, 2020
Detroit pollsters were not illegally prevented from following the bill
Despite the confusing scene, further reports clarified the disputed videos.
The Detroit Free Press, the city’s largest daily newspaper, reported on November 4 that some pollsters were prevented from re-entering the room because the number of contestants in the poll had reached full legal capacity, not in an illegal attempt to prevent the vote. The state allows 134 challengers for each political group (Democrats, Republicans and non-partisans), for a maximum of 402 challengers at a time. According to the newspaper, both Republican and Democratic challengers were prevented from entering.
In response to the quarrel, the Michigan Secretary of State released a statement that Matt Fin posted on Twitter. The letter specified that those who saw legitimate problems had legal options to deal with them and confirmed that the process was “bipartite, open and transparent from the beginning, with a record number of Republican challengers observing it.”
Some of the windows remain blocked. I asked some people who bandaged them and why, no clear answer. Some pollsters / workers say they feel there were not a large number of repubs and dust in this room. The Sec of State’s office gave us this answer: pic.twitter.com/un1RyFTUJj
Matt Finn (@MattFinnFNC) November 4, 2020 Windows in the room were also blocked by order of Detroit City Attorney Lawrence Garcia, in response to requests from polling stations, who felt uncomfortable being filmed. A statement from Garcia, posted on Twitter by Fin, said that “the rule is that if you are in the room, you can not take pictures or film unless you are in the media. So it seemed wrong to allow people to do it outside the glass ”. Garcia also noted that not all windows were blocked: “It’s no secret what’s going on.”
On the day of the incident, President Trump’s campaign filed a lawsuit to stop the counting of ballots in Michigan and Pennsylvania. In a statement from campaign manager Bill Stepien, the campaign called for “reviewing the votes that were opened and counted while we had no meaningful access”. Joe Biden has since been named the winner in Michigan, with 50.5 percent of the vote.
Article by Diana Liu.