The U.S. presidential election heats up and an electoral centre in Arizona has been forced to close after a protest outside, as Trump supporters raised concerns over the unrest. CNN reported that some members of the crowd outside the Maricopa County building are armed (Arizona, which has 11 electoral votes, is an open state).
Donald Trump supporters (many of whom are armed) gathered outside the building but election officials have stated that they will continue to count the ballots and report the results amid the growing protest outside.
“Staff from the @maricopacounty Election Department will continue our work of administering elections in the county’s second largest electoral jurisdiction,” the Maricopa County Election Department tweeted in a statement Wednesday night.
“We will publish the results again tonight as scheduled. We thank the [Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office] to do their job, so that we can do ours.
Arizona GOP congressman Paul Gosar was pictured among the crowd gathered outside the building.
Protesters in Maricopa County, some of them waving Trump flags, chanted “Fox News sucks!” and “Count the votes!” ” For hours.
Fox News and several other media outlets had belatedly called Arizona’s presidential race on election night for Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, but the margin tightened considerably as mail-in ballots in favor of Mr. Trump continued to run until Wednesday.
An NBC News correspondent who left the building late Wednesday night reported via Twitter that the crowd “claiming that the vote was stolen from the president has grown bigger and stronger.” “
The protest outside the Maricopa County Election Office follows a round of tweets on Wednesday from Mr Trump peddling conspiracy theories and disinformation about ballot counting as it appeared his Democratic opponent, Mr Biden , was ready to retire to the Electoral College.
The damage has already been done to the integrity of our system and to the presidential election itself. This is what we must discuss! The president tweeted soon after. The Associated Press called Michigan in favour of Mr. Biden on Wednesday.
Mr Biden, with 253 Electoral College projected votes in the bag so far, has just 17 years of victory.
Arizona wins an 11 electoral vote award, which would put Mr. Biden just six years away from reaching the 270 threshold to win the presidency.
Members of the press gathered at the Maricopa County Election Office were told at around 10:15 pm that they had to leave the building even though the election officials would stay to finish counting the ballots.
Maricopa County is expected to upload the next batch of results at 1:30 a.m. on the East Coast, CNN reported.