Rep. Paul Gosar Locked Out Of Arizona Voting Center As Media Attacks Praying Protesters
Tristan Justice
By

PHOENIX, Ariz. — Arizona Republican Rep. Paul Gosar was denied entry to the Phoenix-area Maricopa County elections center as hundreds of Donald Trump supporters demanded transparency for voting integrity outside the municipal building.

“This is where America makes sure that their voice is heard. It’s at the election box,” Gosar told The Federalist. “And they got to make sure that all elections are fair, that people are heard, their voice and vote are counted.”

Gosar first held a townhall-style forum with dozens of voters at the Arizona capitol grounds before marching with the group to the Maricopa County elections center to join a larger crowd.

Fox News and the Associated Press (AP) each called the southwestern battleground for Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden Tuesday night as the first state to flip from President Donald Trump’s column in 2016. The projection met sharp pushback from the Trump campaign. It derided the decision to call the state for Biden as premature, as upwards of 1 million votes had yet to be counted, many of which were still to come from Trump-favored precincts.

“We were livid about the fact that you and then the AP made that call,” Trump Campaign Communications Director Tim Murtaugh blasted Fox News on air Wednesday.

If Biden were to capture Arizona, all the former vice president would need to reach the 270 electoral votes required for the White House would be Nevada’s six after Wisconsin and Michigan were each called for the Democratic candidate Wednesday. The Trump campaign has sued Michigan to gain equal access to vote counting, as is provided by law, and is calling for a recount in Wisconsin over a voting margin of less than 1 percent.

On Wednesday night, election officials reported another batch of votes moving the state in Trump’s favor, prompting even legacy media’s favorite pollster, Nate Silver, to call on Fox and the AP to retract their earlier predictions.

The call by Fox News to award Biden the state Tuesday was a repeated line of grievance aired by protestors, who chanted, “Fox News sucks.”

As of this writing, Arizona remains very much in play for Trump. More than 400,000 votes have yet to be counted, particularly in rural areas where the president is expected to overperform. With 86 percent of precincts reporting, Trump only needs to make up a less than an 80,000-vote deficit. Biden leads Trump with nearly 51 percent to nearly 48 percent.

Also at issue in Maricopa County in particular, where Biden appears to be outperforming former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton four years ago, is a mechanical issue at the ballot box. Voters across the region reported being forced to cast their votes with Sharpie markers that bled through paper and may have invalidated their ballots.

Andrew Borowski, who voted in Maricopa County, said it happened to him. Below is a photo of Borowski’s official ballot shared with The Federalist where ink from the black Sharpie marker appeared to bleed through.

Borowski told The Federalist that election officials gave him a second ballot to fill out, but it has yet to show up counted on the state vote record website.

“They made me leave the spoiled ballot with them,” Borowski said.

The complaints became so widespread that the Arizona attorney general’s office opened an investigation into the matter Wednesday.

Legacy news outlets have issued “fact-checks” claiming to debunk “Sharpiegate” as misinformation. The evidence provided by The New York Times in its attempt to repudiate what outlets have characterized a conspiracy theory was only a pre-election statement by the Maricopa County Elections Department.

True to form, Facebook banned the hashtag “@Sharpiegate” on the platform.

While The Federalist has not independently confirmed whether Sharpies have invalidated ballots, other questions remain about the volume of complaints, such as whether election officials used proper paper for ballots marked with Sharpies.

Protestors gathered at the Maricopa County municipal building broke out in prayer Wednesday each time they saw cameras go live to illustrate a stark contrast between left-wing militants whose destructive riots have become so routine this year that businesses in cities around the country boarded up in preparation for this week.

“Unlike Antifa, we know what a peaceful protest looks like,” one speaker told the crowd as the occasional left-wing agitator launched a stand-alone counter-protest. Moments later, one man showed up on a bike to antagonize the crowd blasting “F-ck Donald Trump.” The man left after a brief shouting match that ended with him mooning the audience on his way out.

CNN decided this was too much to handle and left, also complaining that several individuals in the crowd were armed. Arizona is an open-carry state.

Blake Boozer was one of those few individuals at the protest with a firearm. A 29-year-old from Georgia, Boozer stood just feet away from Gosar throughout the night with a rifle strapped in across his chest participating in the protest, which featured nothing more than chanting and prayer. No one seemed to pay any mind to Boozer’s weapon, understanding that if anything were to happen, Boozer would be there.

“I learned how to shoot when I was five,” Boozer told The Federalist. “It’s just been like a normal thing for me.”

Boozer agreed that people shouldn’t be wielding weapons if they don’t have the training for responsible carry, but emphasized that his firearm was only enhancing crowd safety.

“If you’re somebody that knows how to handle a gun and train with it and know what to do, then you’ll be fine,” Boozer said. “I’m here to protect everyone.”

Tristan Justice is a staff writer at The Federalist focusing on the 2020 presidential campaigns. Follow him on Twitter at @JusticeTristan or contact him at [email protected]
Photo Photo taken by author

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