Protesters have taken the streets of New York City, Philadelphia, Boston and other cities across the U.S. on Wednesday to urge that every vote is counted as President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden face off in a close presidential race.
Most rallies were organized by the Protect the Results coalition, which drew hundreds of protesters to gather with anti-Trump signs that decried white supremacy and fascism and called to abolish the Electoral College. Others held up signs and banners displaying the phrase, “Every Vote Counts, Count Every Vote” and similar sentiments.
In New York City, the march started at the New York Public Library on 42nd Street and continued down Fifth Avenue, toward Washington Square Park. In Philadelphia, hundreds of demonstrators marched with Black Lives Matter and Count Every Vote signs from City Hall to Independence Mall. The marches, which called for every ballot to be counted in the current election, have continued into Wednesday night in several cities, including Annapolis, Maryland, and Durham, North Carolina.
“The American people will decide who our next President will be, not Donald Trump,” the coalition wrote in an online invite for the rally in New York.
“While the national Protect the Results coalition is not mobilizing all of its nationwide events today, we join a number of cities that are moving forward.… We are mobilizing in New York in solidarity to ensure every vote is counted and respected, in every precinct across the land.”
Guest speakers and community organizers spoke outside of the New York Public Library before the march, emphasizing the importance of counting votes after record voter turnout in the nation.
“We saw record turnout, despite voter suppression,” said one speaker. “And what we’re seeing now, as the votes come in, is that the people in this country want to change.”
Great speakers & valued community organizers spelled out why weâ€™re in the streets today before we touched off. We will not stand for a stolen election. The counting process must continue unimpeded until every vote is counted! #CountEveryVote pic.twitter.com/yesm1fxNPz
— Protect The Results NYC | #DefendDemocracy (@NYC_PTR) November 4, 2020
“We demand that every vote is counted,” said another speaker outside of the library. “I also want to look at the votes that have been counted. Over 65 million of our fellow Americans voted for an anti-Black, xenophobic, homophobic, transphobic, sexist administration that has caused harm in all of our communities.”
“This is a message to liberals and progressives: Unity is not uniformity. We can’t have two rallies in one rally, we can’t have multiple messages, and we need to redistribute leadership in this moment,” the speaker continued.
The Philadelphia “Count Every Vote” rally was mobilized in a state that has received major pushback from Republicans and part of the effort from the Trump campaign to halt the counting of ballots. Philadelphia Congressmen Dwight Evans and Brendan Boyle—both Democrats—spoke to the crowd on Wednesday, with Boyle calling Trump a “wannabe strongman.”
“Let me be absolutely clear,” Boyle said. “We are not gonna let him or anyone else steal this election. Count every vote.”
The rallies come as the Trump campaign aims to stop ballot counts in key swing states. On Wednesday, the president filed lawsuits in Pennsylvania and Michigan to stop ballot counting in the Trump campaign’s latest effort to secure the presidential race, while vowing to request a recount in Wisconsin, which was called for Biden earlier in the day. The announcement of the lawsuits came just before the Associated Press reported Michigan as a win for Biden.
“President Trump’s campaign has not been provided with meaningful access to numerous counting locations to observe the opening of ballots and the counting process, as guaranteed by Michigan law,” said Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien in a news release.
The president also threatened to take legal action against Pennsylvania’s three-day extension for accepting mail-in ballots, which can be accepted and counted until 5 p.m. on the Friday after Election Day as long as they are postmarked by November 3. Trump says he will take this issue to the U.S. Supreme Court as his lead in the state consistently shrinks.
Republicans gathered outside the vote tally room at the TCF Center in Detroit on Wednesday afternoon after instructing dozens of challengers to leave the room due to over-capacity. They began banging on the windows and chanting “stop the count” and “let us in,” while protesters outside of the facility echoed the chants. Democratic challengers countered that they were also asked to leave the room.
Newsweek reached out to the Protect the Results coalition for comment but did not receive a response in time for publication.