“Count every vote” protests occur in Philadelphia on Election Day


Courtesy of whyy.org

After calls from Trump supporters to stop counting mail-in ballot votes, Philadelphians protested in response to count every vote.

All eyes were on Philadelphia after the 2020 presidential election between incumbent President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joseph Biden. The race could not be called because the votes had not been fully counted in a few battleground states, including Pennsylvania.

On November 7th, three days after the election, hundreds of people gathered in the streets of Philadelphia as part of “Count Every Vote” protests. The protesters took to the streets when Trump supporters called to stop counting the votes in a “Stop the Count” protest in front of the Philadelphia Convention Center. Goutham K., research associate at Cooper Medical School and Philadelphia citizen, attended one of the “Count Every Vote” protests that day.

When asked why people were attending the protests, Goutham said, “I think [misinformation spread during the election] led to folks coming out into the streets to make sure the officials understand the gravity of the situation, that they count all the casted votes, including the ballots casted legally.”

The protesters were peaceful. Many were holding signs, dancing, playing music, and chanting. “Overall, there was a cheerful, almost celebratory enthusiasm in the people who tried to voice their concern about getting their votes not counted,” Goutham said. “The music being played was positive and welcoming, the slogans cheerful and powerful, and the mood ecstatic and inclusive.”

There was some tension between the “Count Every Vote” and “Stop the Count” protests, but no major conflicts occurred between the two groups. “There was also one other group of people, who were protesting against the election officials’ decision to continue voting. While their demeanor was not particularly aggressive, their presence was “unwelcome and unacceptable,” Goutham said in referral to the “Stop the Count” protesters.

Although the atmosphere at these protests was positive, some were worried about the safety of protesting during a pandemic.

“Considering approximately 200 folks were in the intersection, the social distancing was followed to the best level possible” Goutham said when asked about how the protesters handle social distance. Although social distancing was not possible in some areas of the protesting, Goutham said that “the participants were masked.”

Although some attendees were affiliated with various political groups, many chose to attend the protests on their own accord. There was a large amount of diversity at the protest. People from all over Philadelphia gathered to encourage democracy.

“I believe in democracy, and democracies work if people’s voices are heard and respected. The misinformation coming out from the highest officials was concerning and I wanted to be part of the group and remind the officials that in a democracy, it’s the people who make the decisions and not the leaders,” Goutham said when asked why he thought it was important to attend this protest. Through their chants and signs, many of the protesters shared this same sentiment.

Some larger organizations, such as the Communications Workers of America (CWA), publicly expressed their support of these protests. At the event, signs were handed out by CWA members with the phrase, “Count Every Vote,” in bold lettering.

“Millions of voters have overcome the pandemic and intentional barriers to turn out in record numbers. By counting every vote, we will ensure that person who these voters have chosen is sworn in as our president,” said Chris Shelton, president of the CWA in a public statement. Shelton also referred to attempts to stop the ballot count as unacceptable. As the election concludes, Philadelphians continue to foster and protect democracy.