Crowd doubts assurances about election integrity at ‘protect the vote’ rally in Phoenix

Protect the vote protest
Posted at 3:43 PM, Nov 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-06 23:15:54-05

PHOENIX — More than a thousand people, mostly Trump supporters, held a “Protect the Vote” rally outside the Maricopa County‘s Elections headquarters Friday.

The rally was headlined by Charlie Kirk, leader of the conservative student group Turning Point USA. Infowars radio host Alex Jones and Kelli Ward, chairwoman of the Arizona Republican Party, also attended.

The group chanted, “Count the legal votes.”

People in attendance told ABC15 they worried their ballot was spoiled because they used a Sharpie, or they had heard unconfirmed reports of voting irregularities in Arizona or other battleground states.

They were distrustful of election officials assurances that their votes would be properly counted, and they didn’t believe news reports or social media fact-checkers either.

“I don’t know enough about the SharpieGate to know exactly what’s legal and what’s not, but my post got censored so that tells me something,” said Ethan Goldberg, who was wearing a Students for Trump t-shirt.

The rally leaders called for full counts, and recounts of ballots, as well as additional checks and transparency, to guarantee the election process was sound.

“I want to see both parties to be able to watch what’s happening in there,” said Kathy Howey, who admitted she did not know what the actual observation process was for ballot tabulation.

“When we start to audit these voter rolls, when we start to get deep into what’s happening with this mail-in balloting that their fraud may actually be exposed,” Kirk said.

By mid-afternoon, fewer than 100 protesters remained in the free speech zone in front of the elections building.