A chaotic scene erupted outside the polling booth at the TCF Center in Detroit when election officials announced dozens of challengers that they were unable to re-enter the room due to its overcrowding.


A chaotic scene erupted outside the polling booth at the TCF Center in Detroit when election officials announced dozens of challengers that they were unable to re-enter the room due to its overcrowding.

People gathered outside the counting area to hit the doors and windows, shouting, “Let us in” and “Stop counting” when only about half a dozen tables went on counting.

The police had to repel the crowd as they argued for permission to enter the counting area. Republicans shouted that they were being unfairly held back, but then Democrats challenged that it was not true because they were also being kept outside.

At 2pm, election officials said the 16,000 absentee votes had yet to be counted. By 4:00 pm, that number had dropped significantly and only six tables inside the TCF Center are continuing to count votes.

According to election rules, each group that contests votes is allowed 134 challenges.

But as of now, about 400 challengers are roaming freely around the room as poll workers count 25,000 absentee votes from the Detroiters.

That includes 134 people challenging Republicans; 134 challenged Democrats and 134 challenged non-partisan, including groups like the ACLU and the League of Women Voters.

Republicans consider the process unfair to allow more challengers to lean Democrats than Republicans.

Inside the TCF, Republican poll tracker Gina Paschke and Ulrike Sherer of Grosse Pointe Farms said they were trying to keep track of some boards where Detroit votes were being counted, and overwhelmed.

Although election officials say each side has permission for 134 people to follow the poll, these women say the balance is not equal and Democrats have more.

Sherer said she has personally challenged about 100 votes since she started polling on Tuesday, some of which were from voters whose records show they registered to vote. year 1900, but the date of birth is 1921.

“So that was registered to vote in 1900, 21 years before you were born,” said Sherer.

Democrats disagree with those who challenge Republicans.

Opponents of challenger Democrats poll Danielle Cadoret, a Detroit-based attorney from Woodhaven and Jacob Kahn, a Wayne State University law student disagree with Republicans saying they are crowded than inside.

“It is really shocking for the conscious people to see what’s going on here. and they have MI GOP attorneys running around telling people that you have to stop counting votes or you have notes on each ballot that there is a challenge because we filed a lawsuit.

“But that is not grounds to challenge a ballot just because a lawsuit has been filed without any orders being issued, any preliminary ruling on that. “

At least 100, if not 200 people challenging the Republican party inside, roamed between the tables, he said. “If this isn’t meaningful access, I don’t know what it is.”

In the early afternoon, Bill Richards, a lawyer from Beverly Hills who watched the tally all morning, was also banned from the tallying area.

“I can’t go there either. I’m a Democrat and I’m a lawyer, ”he said. Richards said he was impressed with the process, saying that challengers can freely roam the center and reach the counters from behind up to 6 feet, and even witness the bars. Checks which ballot can be damaged or not.

“I was completely overwhelmed in the process,” said Richards. “It’s amazing to me that the public is allowed in there.”

Nearby Republicans scoffed at his claims, saying the public was there because they had a right to be there.

“This is all of our work,” said a Republican challenger.

After the challengers’ scores converged on the Detroit vote-counting process on Wednesday afternoon, election officials shut down for any newcomers looking to follow the historic tally.

Within hours of Michigan-led Democratic candidate Joe Biden, more than 100 challengers showed up at the TCF Center in the city center, worrying security as more than 200 challengers had gone. wandering the floor, watching polls as they count absentee ballots might decide elections.

“We’ve exceeded the number of challengers,” one election official told more than two dozen people who were present at 1 p.m. to monitor the progress. “We don’t allow any challengers anymore at this time.”

Attorney Timothy Griffin, a Republican challenger from Virginia, who has been at TCF all day and stayed here overnight, says the system is unfair.

“The whole thing is in doubt,” said Griffin, who belongs to a group called the Electoral Integrity Foundation. “Not equal…. It’s just not fair. “


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Meanwhile, Democrats challengers say they’re coming out to make sure things go fair.

Liz Linkewitz, 35, of Harrison Township, said: “I just want to make sure that all the votes in Michigan count. “This election, as Joe Biden said, is the soul of our country.”

Tresa Baldas is an award-winning legal and court reporter and was named a journalist Richard Milliman “Michigan” by the Michigan Press Association in 2020. Contact her at Or follow her on Twitter @Tbaldas.

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