Hundreds of protesters gathered outside of the Maricopa County Elections Office Wednesday night chanting “count those votes” as the ballots from the 2020 general election continued to be processed.
The group gathered around 7:30 p.m. and attempted to get inside the office.
The crowd was scolding the Fox News Channel for calling Arizona for Democratic candidate Joe Biden on Tuesday evening. The crowd was also voicing concern over the controversial issue of the possibility that ballots that were filled out with permanent marker were not being counted. The concern of the protestors is the allegation that election officials handed the Sharpies to voters to use, which may cause the submitted ballots not to be read by the election counting machines.
Arizona elections officials had said poll workers would not give voters pens that would invalidate ballots.
“Everyone should want all the votes to be counted, whether they were mailed or cast in person,” Clint Hickman, the GOP chair of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, and Democratic Supervisor Steve Gallardo said in a statement.
“An accurate vote takes time. … This is evidence of democracy, not fraud,” they said.
Around 9:45 p.m., Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrived wearing tactical gear as the crowd continued to grow outside of the elections office.
A short time later, the Maricopa County Elections Department closed the building over concerns from the crowds outside the building.
As of 7 p.m. on Wednesday, in Arizona, Biden maintained a lead over Trump in by approximately 80,000 votes, but nearly 400,000 votes in Maricopa County were still left to be counted.
Arizona’s 11 electoral votes may have a hand in deciding the election, as other states like Pennsylvania, Georgia and Nevada are also continuing to count votes to determine the presidential winner.