Two boisterous groups amassed outside the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Center City Philadelphia on Thursday as civil servants inch closer to finishing counting mail-in ballots.
Standing at 12th and Arch streets and separated by police barricades, the dueling rallies for and against finishing counting legally-casted votes has carried on for hours.
On the north side of the block, a few dozen Donald Trump supporters could be heard calling for the count to stop. Several times during the day, they were joined by members of the Trump campaign, including Trump senior campaign advisor Corey Lewandowski and former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi. The Trump allies were in the city to file a flurry of legal challenges against city and state voting officials.
Across the street, outside the famed Reading Terminal Market, scores of “Count the Vote” protesters loudly sang, danced and celebrated democracy at work. Demonstrators supporting this cause handily outnumbers the other side. Organizers sent text messages to registered voters in Philadelphia inviting people to join “a joyful party.”
Former Vice President Joe Biden said once again on Thursday that every vote must be counted.
NBC10 journalists at the demonstrations throughout the day said there have been tense moments with yelling between the groups, but that both sides have been peaceful. There is a sizable Philadelphia police presence at the site.
More than 358,000 mail-in ballots were cast in Philadelphia for the 2020 general election and the city is able to process around 10,000 an hour. Pennsylvania election officials were not able to pre-canvass the votes – basically take them out of the envelope and get them ready for scanning – until Election Day morning because of the election code.
Live Election Results
The counting was briefly halted Thursday because of one of the Trump lawsuits, but resumed within an hour. Trump led in Pennsylvania on Election Day with a large number of Republicans choosing to vote in person. But his lead has steadily declined as mail-in ballots have been counted. The Biden campaign maintains they can win Pennsylvania and ultimately the presidency.