Non-partisan poll challenger describes a surreal scene inside contested counting center

Election 2020 is turning out to be just as batsh*t crazy as 2020 itself, which of course isn't surprising, but certainly is annoying.

Due to Trump's baseless claims that the election is rigged against him and that if only legal votes were counted he'd be winning, states and counties that have spent years honing their elections to make them as secure as possible, that rallied to adjust their systems to accommodate the needs of voters in a global pandemic, and that have managed to pull off hundreds upon hundreds of elections without widespread fraud now have to battle a president publicly attacking the integrity of our entire electoral process.

Good times, America.

No one disagrees that elections should be run fairly. No one disagrees that ballots should be cast within legal boundaries. No one disagrees that every legally cast vote should be counted. No one disagrees that ballot counting should be overseen by representatives of both parties and that poll watchers should raise concerns if they see something questionable in the vote tallying process.

And that has been happening in ballot counting centers across the nation. Unfortunately, so has some ridiculous tomfoolery from the Trump camp.

Julie Moroney is a law student who answered the call for non-partisan poll watchers in Detroit, Michigan, and she shared on Twitter what she experienced as she watched Wayne county ballots being counted.



Moroney wrote:

"I was at the TCF Center in Detroit yesterday as a non-partisan poll challenger. The woman in the maroon shirt with the black mask was one of the GOP challengers I monitored. At one point, she yelled that a ballot needed to be thrown out because it 'looked sticky.' Another time she demanded that the poll workers stop what they were doing and backup all computers in case of power outage or tornado(?). Just baseless, bad faith challenges to slow the process.

And after Trump filed his lawsuit and MI was called for Biden, the GOP strategy shifted to challenge every single ballot. I know this because I overheard their organizers pass on the new message. They didn't even pretend to have a reason for doing so, just repeated 'I challenge this ballot; I challenge that ballot' over and over again as the poll workers tried to count.

At one point, my good friend and law school classmate @sumnertruax looked over at me and said 'this is not how democracy is supposed to work.' It was so true, and so sad. The optics of it all weren't lost on me either. Picture a huge space filled with predominantly Black poll workers just trying to do their gd jobs while white MI GOP challengers hovered over them, yelling at them that they're wrong, doing a bad job, or committing crimes.

The harassment and intimidation — both from the GOP challengers in the room and the GOP supporters banging on the windows trying to get in — is seared onto my brain. Security guards had to escort us out a side entrance so we could leave the building safely.

One of the most jarring things was stepping outside of the building and seeing the sun set across the river in Canada. The juxtaposition of exiting the epicenter of 'American democracy' that felt more like mob rule and seeing the Canadian flag gently flap in the wind a mile away, An example of a functioning democracy...the irony was painful.

I left exhausted, but mostly just sad. I love America, but some of you make it so hard.

How did we get to a place where you challenge other people's ballots simply because you believe they voted for the other guy? How did we get to a place where you file a lawsuit claiming lack of access, when you have 100+ challengers in there fucking shit up? How did we get to a place where you're so deep into conspiracy theories that you claim ballots are coming out of thin air when you are there, witnessing the process, and doing everything in your power to impede it?

Go home. And let the incredible, hard-working and honest poll workers #CountEveryVote."

Poll workers are seriously patriotic heroes right now. What is usually a tedious-but-necessary job has suddenly become a target for quacks and fanatics who simply can't believe that the most unpopular president since Gerald Ford could possibly fail to be reelected in a fair election. Why? Because Trump says so. It's really that simple.

Nevermind the fact that if Democrats were really rigging the election, there's no way on earth Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham would still have their seats. Nevermind the fact that Republicans won races in every one of the swing states where Trump is trying to raise doubts, with the same ballots used to vote for or against him. Nevermind the fact that Trump is a malignant narcissist who literally cannot admit to losing, no matter how clear the outcome of the election.

No one disagrees that legitimate concerns about ballots and votes should be investigated—when there is evidence. Yes, there are occasional irregularities in every single election, and those should be looked into. But you can't just stand behind the presidential podium and claim the election is rigged or fraudulent or stolen because you're losing or because the electoral system that has successfully elected 45—soon to be 46—presidents isn't being run exactly the way you want it to be.

As Moroney's fellow poll watcher said, "This isn't how democracy is supposed to work." Indeed, it is not. And the fact that the dysfunction is coming from the president himself is the saddest thing of all.

Photo: Canva

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