Chaos hit the election count center in a crucial Arizona county on Wednesday night after a large group of Trump supporters gathered outside to protest, some carrying weapons as the chanted for the vote to continue
  • US election still too close to call with several key swing states still in play and Arizona now in doubt 
  • There are still 450,000 votes to be counted in Arizona and officials there say it could take until Friday  
  • Trump supporters, some of them armed, descended on counting center to demand every ballot be counted
  • Hundreds of miles to the east, Biden claimed key states of Wisconsin and Michigan, leaving him near victory  
  • To claim a second term, Trump needs Nevada, Georgia, North Carolina and then Pennsylvania on Friday 
  • Biden could snatch the presidency if he keeps his lead in Arizona then claims Nevada, Georgia or NC 
  • Trump has launched legal challenges to try and overturn results in swing states, after crying fraud 
  • On Thursday, his team filed a lawsuit in Nevada to claim that votes there aren’t being properly counted
  • So far, he has contested the results in Nevada, Wisconsin, Michigan, Georgia and Pennsylvania, even though votes are still being counted  

By CHRIS PLEASANCE FOR MAILONLINE  and FRANCES MULRANEY FOR DAILYMAIL.COM

PUBLISHED: 12:47 AEDT, 5 November 2020 | UPDATED: 02:39 AEDT, 6 November 2020

The result of the election is still unclear today with several key swing states still in play including Arizona, where Joe Biden’s comfortable lead over Trump shrank overnight, wreaking havoc on the results and prompting a posse of armed Trump voters to descend on counting centers. 

Biden has 264 of the 270 electoral college votes he needs to claim the White House currently. That number includes Arizona, which Fox News and the Associated Press called for him early on Wednesday despite votes still being counted. To win now, he must keep that lead and win either Nevada, Georgia, North Carolina or Pennsylvania, all of which remain undecided. 

Nevada will report their results at 12 EST. Georgia is expected to report theirs at some time before that. 

Trump is currently ahead in GA by 18,000 votes, taking 49.6% of the vote over Biden’s 49.2%, and there are still 50,000 votes to count. 

It is unclear when a result can be expected from North Carolina. Pennsylvania will not report their results until Friday, by which point it could all be over. Arizona’s Secretary of State, Katie Hobbs, said on Thursday morning that she did not expect a final result from the state until Friday. 

As tensions flared in Arizona overnight, armed pro-Trump protesters descended on a counting center in Maricopa County, after Biden’s commanding 200,000-vote lead was slashed to just 68,000 as ballots continued being tallied.  

They faced off with police and security outside the counting center, chanting that every vote should be counted with the result in the balance. At least one person made it inside, forcing the center to close with staff locked in.  

Earlier in the day, Biden claimed victory in Michigan and Wisconsin – flipping them back from Republican control. 

Trump, refusing to accept the results, cried fraud, claiming ballots had been ‘dumped. He has filed lawsuits in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Georgia to try to halt the voting, claiming it had been done improperly, and he has also demanded a recount in Wisconsin.  

Scroll down for video https://elections.ap.org/widgets/content/c7beb82c85e4835ceddbdb860a2f2e31

Chaos hit the election count center in a crucial Arizona county on Wednesday night after a large group of Trump supporters gathered outside to protest, some carrying weapons as the chanted for the vote to continue

Chaos hit the election count center in a crucial Arizona county on Wednesday night after a large group of Trump supporters gathered outside to protest, some carrying weapons as the chanted for the vote to continue

MICHIGAN: Supporters of US President Donald Trump chant slogans as they gather outside the room where absentee ballots for the 2020 general election are being countedVideo from outside the count center showed the angered crowd as they shouted that the vote was being suppressed

Video from outside the count center showed the angered crowd as they shouted that the vote was being suppressed

Amid the ongoing uncertainty;

  • Trump protesters descended on counting centers in both Michigan and Arizona – demanding that the vote count be stopped in the former state, and demanding it continue in the latter
  • Trump also launched a series of lawsuits to try and shift the result in his favor, while make unsubstantiated claims of electoral fraud on Twitter
  • In Wisconsin, Trump is suing for a recount – which is expected to go ahead because the result is within 1 per cent of votes cast, but is not expected to overturn Biden’s 20,000-vote margin
  • In Michigan, he claims his poll observers have not been given proper access to the count, and is suing to have the count stopped until they are given access
  • In Pennsylvania, Trump is claiming that the Senator has given Biden back-door votes to try to push him out
  • Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer, and Trump’s son, Eric, held a rally in Pennsylvania as they spearheaded the president’s legal action there 
  • In Georgia, he alleges that a GOP poll observer witnessed 53 late absentee ballots added to a pile

Video footage from outside the Maricopa count center on Wednesday showed the angered crowd as they shouted and chanted that the vote was being suppressed and that the election was unfair. 

Some fumed about a rumor that was circulating from right-wing social media accounts throughout the day that claimed that the ballots of some Trump supporters were being disregarded because they were filled out using a Sharpie. 

STATES STILL IN PLAY

ARIZONA – 11 electoral college votes: Votes still being counted, deadline for result unclear

50.49% Biden

48.14 Biden (sic) Trump?

Fox and the AP gave Arizona to Biden before dawn on Wednesday. 

On Wednesday afternoon, officials said that there were still 600,000 votes left to be counted which suggested that it could be put back in play. 

The AP is standing by its call, saying the outstanding votes are in Biden strongholds that will not flip back to Trump.     

Biden’s lead in Arizona has shrunk to about 68,000 votes.  

Maricopa is the largest county in Arizona, home to Phoenix and 62% of the state’s 7.28 million residents. A candidate cannot win the state without it

Counting will resume Thursday. Maricopa county will next report Thursday evening, local time 

GEORGIA – 16 electoral colleges votes: Result expected sometime on Thursday

49.57% Trump

49.2%  Biden

NEVADA – 6 electoral college votes: Result expected 12 EST Thursday

49.33% Biden

48.69% Trump

NORTH CAROLINA – 15 electoral college votes: Result expected some time Thursay

50.09% Trump

48.69% Biden

PENNSYLVANIA – 20 electoral college votes: Result expected Friday

Trump 50.72%

Biden 48.13%

On Thursday morning, Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs said she didn’t understand what the protesters were trying to achieve.  

‘I don’t  understand what these protesters are interested in. We’re going to keep counting ballots.

‘If they’re supporting the president they should want us to continue counting. I just don’t know what their goal is. 

‘Absolutely they are not disrupting what we’re doing,’ she said during an interview with Good Morning America.

There is no evidence that any of the votes cast are not being counted in the county or in the state. 

Several members of the group AZ Patriots did successfully manage to make their way inside the building, one wearing a military vest, where they argued that the pens in the count had been changed to Sharpies, before they were kicked out of the building. 

Media crews were escorted from the center at around 12.30am and some staff were also escorted from the building at the end of their shifts as the shouts of the crowd grew louder. There have been no reports of violence although several members of the press claimed they were threatened. 

Inside, the count continued, with the center vowing that it would continue until the last update of the night. 

Meanwhile in Michigan, Trump protesters also surrounded an election center in Detroit where they called on the count to be stopped as the state was declared for Biden. 

Republicans have also filed a lawsuit in Michigan demanding that all vote counting stop because Trump’s people weren’t giving proper access to voting sites and couldn’t oversee the counting process to ensure it was fair.

In Georgia, the lawsuit claims that a GOP poll observer witnessed 53 late absentee ballots added to a pile in Chatham County while two additional actions in Pennsylvania claim a Senator there has given Biden back-door votes to try to push Trump out.

And in Wisconsin, the campaign is demanding a recount, despite Biden winning by more than 20,000 votes which represents around 0.6 percent of the vote. 

The figure falls within the state’s recount rules which allows for anything within a one-point margin to qualify for a a recount. 

In Pennsylvania, where a result is unlikely before Friday, Rudy Giuliani – Trump’s personal lawyer – and Trump’s son, Eric, arrived to spearhead ‘critical legal actions’ in the state. 

The Trump campaign has announced that it will wade into a case currently before the Supreme Court which challenges state law that allows for mail-in ballots that arrive up to three days after election day. 

Deputy Trump Campaign Manager Justin Clark said the campaign will be suing to stop ‘Democrat election officials from hiding the ballot counting and processing’ from GOP poll-watchers.

He claimed that Republican observers in Philadelphia were ordered to stand 25 meters away from counting staff, making it impossible to watch.ARIZONA: The Maricopa County center in Phoenix was forced to close to the public, locking poll workers inside, when supporters of the president surrounded the building chanting 'count the vote'

ARIZONA: The Maricopa County center in Phoenix was forced to close to the public, locking poll workers inside, when supporters of the president surrounded the building chanting ‘count the vote’Trump supporters gather at Arizona poll centre over ‘early call”

NEW YORK: Anti-Trump protesters kneel in the street in Manhattan in the wake of an uncertain election on November 3

NEW YORK: Anti-Trump protesters kneel in the street in Manhattan in the wake of an uncertain election on November 3MINNESOTA: Demonstrators take to the streets of Minneapolis for an anti-Trump rally in the wake of the election

MINNESOTA: Demonstrators take to the streets of Minneapolis for an anti-Trump rally in the wake of the electionCALIFORNIA: A man raises his fist during a protest in Los Angeles as uncertainty continued over the result of the election

CALIFORNIA: A man raises his fist during a protest in Los Angeles as uncertainty continued over the result of the electionSEATTLE: A protester lights an American flag on fire during a demonstration in Seattle on Wednesday

SEATTLE: A protester lights an American flag on fire during a demonstration in Seattle on Wednesday ILLINOIS: Demonstrator Brittany Bysina holds a sign as demonstrators march through central Chicago on Wednesday night

ILLINOIS: Demonstrator Brittany Bysina holds a sign as demonstrators march through central Chicago on Wednesday nightPENNSYLVANIA: Demonstrators, including one carrying a Black Lives Matter flag, march past Independence Hall in Philadelphia to urge that all votes be counted on Wednesday

PENNSYLVANIA: Demonstrators, including one carrying a Black Lives Matter flag, march past Independence Hall in Philadelphia to urge that all votes be counted on WednesdayBiden all but declares victory, appeals for calm as votes counted

Joe Biden on Wednesday afternoon all but claimed election victory as he said he was 'confident' he would win the White House after taking Michigan and Wisconsin. He is pictured with his running mate Kamala Harris by his side

Joe Biden on Wednesday afternoon all but claimed election victory as he said he was ‘confident’ he would win the White House after taking Michigan and Wisconsin. He is pictured with his running mate Kamala Harris by his side Donald Trump on Wednesday at 2.30am - the last time he was seen in public - declaring election victory despite many of the votes still being counted. He has vowed to go to the Supreme Court to challenge what he is calling a 'fraud' outcome so far

Donald Trump on Wednesday at 2.30am – the last time he was seen in public – declaring election victory despite many of the votes still being counted. He has vowed to go to the Supreme Court to challenge what he is calling a ‘fraud’ outcome so far ‘We love Trump’: President’s supporters gather in Arizona

And like in Michigan, the Trump campaign is suing to halt vote counting until ‘meaningful transparency’ is guaranteed.

Trump has also accused Pennsylvania’s Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar of unilaterally extending the deadline by which mail-in voters whose voter ID was missing to provide proof. 

In a press conference held in Philadelphia on Wednesday afternoon Giuliani and Eric claimed the president won the state, despite roughly one million mail-in ballots still needing to be counted.

Like Trump himself, neither man offered a legal argument for a win or proof of any voter fraud, but nonetheless made claims of cheating.

‘They’re trying to cheat, they’re trying to cheat,’ Eric Trump said repeatedly of the Democrats.

Giuliani ranted for several minutes about mail-in ballots which he claimed – without proof – could be falsified.

‘This is beyond anything I have ever seen before,’ he said. ‘Do you think we’re stupid? Do you think we’re fools?

‘You know something, Democrats do think you’re stupid,’ Giuliani added. ‘And they do think you’re fools. That’s why you get called ‘deplorable’ and ‘chumps’.

U.S. President Trump supporters gather to protest the election results at the Maricopa County Elections Department officeThe protesters claimed that the election is unfair after debunked rumors spread from right-wing social media accounts

The protesters claimed that the election is unfair after debunked rumors spread from right-wing social media accounts Angered protesters descended on the center in Phoenix where the majority of the remaining votes are still to be countedAngered protesters descended on the center in Phoenix where the majority of the remaining votes are still to be counted

The legal devices being used by Republicans to challenge election results

Michigan – stop votes being counted and review ballots

Called for Biden with 99 per cent of ballots counted 

Donald Trump yesterday filed a lawsuit in the battleground state of Michigan seeking to halt vote-counting and review counted ballots.

Campaign manager Bill Stepien said Republicans had not been given ‘meaningful access to numerous counting locations to observe the opening of ballots and the counting process’.

He claims this violates state law.

Georgia – secure and account for late mail-in ballots

Too early to call. Trump ahead by 0.5 points with 98 per cent of ballots counted 

President Trump and the Georgia Republican Party have filed a lawsuit against election officials in Chatham County, asking a judge to order all late ballots be secured and accounted for. 

It was filed after a Republican observer claims to have witnessed mail-in ballots which arrived after the 7pm deadline added to a pile of lawful votes to be counted.

Sean Pumphry, a registered GOP poll-watcher, said he saw 53 unprocessed ballots added to processed ones. 

Wisconsin – recount the ballots

Called for Biden with 99 per cent of ballots counted 

The Trump campaign last night announced it would demand a recount of ballots in Wisconsin after an ultra-tight race. 

Biden only edged a victory in the state, leading Trump by just 0.53 per cent of the vote.

Wisconsin state law allows campaigns to pay for a recount if the margin of defeat is less than 1 per cent. 

Pennsylvania – multiple legal challenges

Won’t know until Friday. Biden ahead by three points with 89 per cent of ballots counted

Supreme Court  

The Trump campaign yesterday said it will wade into a case currently before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, over whether late mail-in ballots can be counted.

Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar ruled ballots that arrived up to three days late could be counted, which is currently being challenged by state Republicans.

Trump’s lawyers now plan to ‘intervene’ in this case.  

Stop counting until transparency guarantees 

Like in Georgia, he also said Trump would be suing to stop ‘Democrat election officials from hiding the ballot counting and processing’ from GOP poll-watchers.

He claimed that Republican observers in Philadelphia were ordered to stand 25 metres away from counting staff, making it impossible to watch.

And like in Michigan, the Trump campaign is suing to halt vote counting until ‘meaningful transparency’ is guaranteed.

Voter ID challenge

Trump has accused Pennsylvania’s Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar of unilaterally extending the deadline by which mail-in voters whose voter ID was missing to provide proof.

Under state law, first-time mail-in and absentee voters must provide identification.

‘We’re going to stick with this. We’re going to win this election. We’ve actually won it. 

‘It’s just a matter of counting the votes fairly.’

Giuliani complained the mail-in ballots could have come from Mars or Canada – or could simply be one person who sent in 100,000 votes.

‘Staff at the @maricopacounty Elections Department will continue our job, which is to administer elections in the second largest voting jurisdiction in the county,’ the department tweeted. 

‘We will release results again tonight as planned. We thank the @mcsoaz for doing their job, so we can do ours.’ 

Among the protesters was local Congressman Paul Gosar who joined the crowd in complaining that votes were not being counted, blasting the Arizona Secretary of State as a ‘joke’ and praying, before demanding an update on the tally. 

‘Some shady things are happening in Arizona…’ he tweeted earlier in the day. 

Gosar made the claim after Fox News faced outrage for deciding to call the state’s eleven electoral college seats for Biden before midnight on election night. The Associated Press has since also called a Biden victory but the New York Times and CNN are among the major news organization believing the race is still there for either candidate. 

On Wednesday night, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis railed against the decision to call Arizona and said that Fox should immediate rescind the decision.

‘Trump is gaining in Arizona. There are probably 500,000…’ DeSantis said during an interview with Fox. ‘Here’s my thing, if you’re quick on the trigger, then be quick on the trigger for both sides and stand by it. With Trump, they never want to call the state. Biden, they will do it right away. It’s inconsistent and unacceptable. Look, North Carolina should be called for the president, for sure. Arizona — Fox should rescind that call.’ 

‘We have to do this in a right way,’ DeSantis continued. ‘I thought it was really poor how it was done. Florida, we didn’t even need the panhandle coming in. The president was up so much with the basis of Miami-Dade [county] early in mail voting that here was no way he would lose by Florida and won by 400,000 votes in the end.’ 

FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver, who has himself been criticized for wildly inaccurate polling data, also said that Fox and the Associated Press should retracted the projection.  

The Arizona call from Fox was the first of the states that appeared to have flipped from red to blue, marking a major loss for the Trump campaign in this must-win state if it were accurate. 

Yet the Trump campaign has argued that the voting is not yet over, dismissing the call and predicting that the president will eventually win by some 30,000 votes once all ballots are counted. 

They have also said they are considering contesting the result but have not indicated what action they would take after calling for a recount in Wisconsin and filing lawsuits over vote counting in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Georgia. 

‘@FoxNews is a complete outlier in calling Arizona, and other media outlets should not follow suit,’ fumed Trump campaign senior adviser Jason Miller on Tuesday night.  

‘There are still 1M+ Election Day votes out there waiting to be counted – we pushed our people to vote on Election Day, but now Fox News is trying to invalidate their votes!

‘We believe over 2/3 of those outstanding Election Day voters are going to be for Trump. Can’t believe Fox was so anxious to pull the trigger here after taking so long to call Florida. Wow,’ he continued. 

‘Retract AZ!’ added Republican National Committee spokesperson Liz Harrington. 

Arizona’s governor Doug Ducey, a Republican, also pushed back at the Fox News result calling it ‘far too early’ to have declared Biden the winner in the early hours of Wednesday morning. 

‘Election Day votes are not fully reported, and we haven’t even started to count early ballots dropped off at the polls. In AZ, we protected Election Day. Let’s count the votes—all the votes—before making declarations.’ 

Rudy Giuliani accuses Democrats of fraud in states that Biden won

Rudy Giuliani, a lawyer for President Donald Trump, speaks during a news conference on legal challenges to vote counting in Pennsylvania on Wednesday afternoon after the president filed a lawsuit despite one million votes remaining uncounted

Arizona officials debunk #SharpieGate conspiracy

Social media users are falsely claiming that ballots in Arizona are invalid because they were filled out with Sharpie markers – but officials were quick to quash such rumors stating they’re still valid. 

#SharpieGate emerged on social media on Wednesday as Donald Trump supporters suggested that election officials in Maricopa County provided voters with the felt-tipped pens to interfere with their ballots. 

Some people claimed they were targeted because they wanted to vote for Trump. 

Trump is famous for using the Sharpie permanent marker.   

However, Arizona election officials said that voting with a Sharpie would have no impact on the votes being recorded by tabulation machines, and if there was an issue, there is a process that would keep the ballots from being canceled out.

 On Wednesday the Republican Attorney General’s Office in Arizona said they were investigating complaints from Maricopa County voters over the Sharpie fiasco.

President Donald Trump supporters gather to protest the election results at the Maricopa County Elections Department office

President Donald Trump supporters gather to protest the election results at the Maricopa County Elections Department office

At one point the group began to pray for the outcome of the election
At one point the group began to pray for the outcome of the election