Trump supporters converge in polling centres

Poll challengers chant “stop the count” outside the ballot counting room after being asked to leave due to room capacity at the TCF Centre after Election Day in Michigan, on Wednesday. [Reuters]

Dozens of angry supporters of President Donald Trump converged on vote-counting centres in Detroit and Phoenix as the returns went against him on Wednesday in the two key states.

Meanwhile, thousands of anti-Trump protesters demanded a complete tally of the ballots in the still-undecided election.W

“Stop the count!” the Trump supporters chanted in Detroit. “Stop the steal!” they said in Phoenix.

The protests came as the president insisted without evidence that there were major problems with the voting and the ballot counting, especially with mail-in votes, and as Republicans filed suit in various states over the election.

Wearing Trump gear, the Phoenix protesters filled much of the parking lot at the Maricopa County election centre, and members of the crowd chanted, “Fox News sucks!” in anger over the network declaring Joe Biden winner in Arizona.

Rep Paul Gosar, an Arizona Republican and staunch Trump supporter, joined the crowd, declaring: “We are not going to let this election be stolen. Period.”

However, observers from both major political parties were inside the election centre as ballots were processed and counted, and the procedure was live-streamed online at all times.

Several sheriff’s deputies blocked the entrance to the building. And the vote-counting went on into the night, Maricopa County Elections Department Spokeswoman Megan Gilbertson said.

Two top county officials — one a Democrat, the other a Republican — issued a statement expressing concern about how misinformation had spread about integrity of the election process.

“Everyone should want all the votes to be counted, whether they were mailed or cast in person,” said the statement signed by Clint Hickman, GOP chair of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, and Democratic Supervisor Steve Gallardo.

“An accurate vote takes time. This is evidence of democracy, not fraud.”

Meanwhile, from New York City to Seattle, thousands of demonstrators turned out to demand that every vote be tallied.

In Portland, Oregon, which has been a scene of regular protests for months, Governor Kate Brown called out the National Guard as demonstrators engaged in what authorities said was widespread violence downtown, including smashing windows.