Supporters of President Trump have gathered in Phoenix, AZ for Protect the Vote rallies over a number of discrepancies that have given them concern.
Fox News/Associated Press (AP) and Wall Street Journal call Arizona for Biden
First, early on election night, Fox News called Arizona for Joe Biden much before any other outlet, while people were still waiting in line to vote. Both Fox and the AP are refusing to retract their projections, as they say remaining votes are in areas expected to receive high returns for Biden, leaving Trump without a path to victory there.
On Wednesday morning it became known that a data feed error had led to media outlets thinking that 98 percent of votes were counted rather than the actual 86 percent. According to The Right Scoop and New York Times, Edison Research data incorrectly displayed the percentage of votes. “An error was found in the data feed from Edison Research (used by @nytimes and other news organizations) for Arizona results—86 percent of ballots have been counted, not 98 percent.” Still, Fox News and the AP refuse to put Arizona back in play.
At the time of writing, Biden’s lead in Arizona is approximately 68,000 votes. Officials stated on Wednesday afternoon that 600,000 votes are left to be counted, between 428,000 and 446,000 of which are from Maricopa county, suggesting the race could still go either way. Maricopa is the largest county and home to 62 percent of the state’s 7.28 million residents. A candidate cannot win the state without it, and its next report is due Thursday evening, local time.
“Sharpiegate” – Another unfair election practice?
Some of the Trump supporters campaigning in Arizona claim that their ballots were disregarded because they were filled out using a Sharpie pen. Lawsuits have been filed by the American Centre for Law and Justice, and attorney Alexander Kolodin on behalf of Laurie Aguilera and other Arizonan voters. The issue here is that county officials told voters that Sharpies were fine to use on ballots, but as detailed in the lawsuit, “Plaintiff completed her ballot with the provided Sharpie. While completing it, she noticed the ink was bleeding through.”
As a result, the vote reading machine was unable to read Aguilera’s ballot and poll workers refused to give her a second ballot. Attorney Kolodin said she believes her vote was not counted. “I should know that when I put my ballot into the machine and if I followed the instructions it gets counted, and it gets counted perfectly.”
Where is the media?
Discrepancies in reporting on election night were obvious when news outlets waited up to six hours to declare Florida for Trump and even longer to report Texas, compared to how quickly they called for Biden. The President pointed out in his early morning speech, that the governors of these states had already called to congratulate him on securing their states, but still not reported. Helpful initiatives are underway from independent media, though.
John Solomon of Just the News announced Thursday he is partnering with Real America’s Voice and the Star newspapers from Michigan and other states, to do a full forensic examination of Pennsylvania, Michigan, Arizona, and Wisconsin voting practices and reporting. The focus is on precincts where the total votes received exceeds the number of voters registered in that precinct. Solomon acknowledged that some areas would allow for same-day registration, but he was not convinced that places reporting an 89 to 100 percent turnout of registered voters have been free from abuse. He said, “When you see places with that kind of turnout, it is almost unheard of in American elections, it is a red flag.”
Solomon also pointed out that in the 2000 Supreme Court election decision Bush vs. Gore, an important issue was whether voters were treated equally, and he has seen real examples of situations where voters in Philadelphia were treated differently from those in Allegheny county. For example, the Pennsylvania Secretary of State allowed voters in Philadelphia/Delaware county, to “fix” ballots that had not been counted due to errors, but this did not happen in parts of the state more likely to vote heavy for Trump.
America is realizing that the problem with counting votes two, three, or more days after the fact rather than on election night, that the politicians running the process in any particular locality know what the deficit is. This creates not only the appearance of a conflict but also the risk of improper conduct. People don’t easily forget the 2018 election actions of Brenda Snipes in Broward County, Florida.
Carol King received a first-class BA (honors) in History and Politics from Stirling University, along with an exceptional commendation for a study on U.S. public opinion and Foreign Policy. She also completed a year of study at the University of London before taking up a Graduate Proctor Fellowship at Princeton University. She further completed an MPhil in American Politics at Dundee University. Aspiring to be a writer/commentator on American politics, she now writes for UncoverDC.