Hundreds gather outside Maricopa election center for third day of protests

Hundreds gather outside Maricopa election center for third day of protests

A rally participant wearing and carrying an American flag watches as rally attendees speak. Calls from the crowd varied from demands to recount the votes to expressing anger over the use of Sharpie pens to mark ballots. (Photo by Hope O’Brien/Cronkite News)

A rally participant wearing and carrying an American flag watches as rally attendees speak. Calls from the crowd varied from demands to recount the votes to expressing anger over the use of Sharpie pens to mark ballots. (Photo by Hope O’Brien/Cronkite News)

PHOENIX – As tensions continue to rise over the results of the 2020 election, supporters of President Donald Trump on Friday gathered outside of the Maricopa County Tabulation and Election Center in downtown Phoenix. It was the third day of protests.

The crowd demanded that officials continue to count votes.

State and county officials on Friday continued to try to assure the public that they are, in fact, counting votes. Secretary of State Katie Hobbs tweeted on Friday: “In Arizona, we’re working to count every vote. All state leaders must stand up for our democratic process and those whom we’ve entrusted to carry it out.”

Jake Angeli wore fur with horns and carried a sign that read “Hold the Line Patriots God Wins” on one side and “Q Sent Me” on the other. Q refers to the far-right conspiracy theory known as QAnon. (Photo by Hope O’Brien/Cronkite News)

Left: The crowd reacts with shouts of agreement as one participant speaks about outrage over the use of Sharpies to mark ballots in Arizona. Sharpies in blue or black ink are acceptable for voting. Right: A utility truck decked out in flags in support of President Donald Trump circles the block where the rally was held. Each time the truck passed and honked, the crowd responded with cheers. (Photos by Hope O’Brien/Cronkite News)

On Friday morning, crowds began to pool into the free speech area set up in front of the Maricopa elections center for the Protect the Vote Rally organized by Turning Point Action, a conservative youth outreach organization.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story misspelled a protester’s name in a photo caption. Jake Angeli was the fur-draped protester carrying a QAnon sign. The caption has been corrected here, but clients who used earlier versions are asked to run the correction found here.

Attendees chanted for transparency and questioned the validity of the use of Sharpie pens on ballots throughout polling sites across Arizona.

Maricopa County officials set up signs near the free speech zone, and the signs provided information about how to watch the livestream inside. County Recorder Adrian Fontes tweeted: “You may watch election workers process and count” ballots on the county’s website.

State and county officials also continued to try to quash misinformation about Sharpie pens.

At Friday’s rally, Trump supporters weren’t swayed by those efforts.

Across the street from the rally, fellow supporters of President Donald Trump sell flags that read “Trump 2020” and “Don’t Tread on Me.” (Photo by Hope O’Brien/Cronkite News)

Some protesters brought their dogs to the area outside the Maricopa County Tabulation and Election Center occupied by rally attendees. This dog was wrapped in a flag that reads “Don’t Tread on Me.” (Photo by Hope O’Brien/Cronkite News)

As the rally began to grow in numbers, the area filled with flags and signs that addressed masks and supported Trump 2020. The majority of people attending had at least one flag to wave. (Photo by Hope O’Brien/Cronkite News)

Attendees of the Protect the Vote rally gather in front of the Maricopa County Tabulation and Election Center to listen to speeches given over a microphone connected to a speaker. (Photo by Hope O’Brien/Cronkite News)

Rally attendees converse and chant on the side of the road as another attendee pulls to the side to give a speech about Sharpies being used on Arizona ballots. The attendee was later asked by law enforcement to remove his car from the street. (Photo by Hope O’Brien/Cronkite News)

Over the speaker system, a protester called for action: “We need to shut the city down until we get a recount.” The crowd responded in agreement.

Protesters continued to gather throughout the day. The size has fluctuated, and officials expected the crowd to increase leading up to a ballot count announcement Friday evening, according to Downtown Phoenix Inc.

Hope O’Brien

News Visual Journalist, Phoenix

Hope O’Brien is an Arizona native who expects to graduate in May 2022 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a master’s in mass communication. O’Brien also has worked as a staff writer at the Downtown Devil.

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