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The Pennsylvania Convention Center continues to draw crowds as the vote keeps counting.
Photo: Maritza Zuluaga / AL DIA
The Pennsylvania Convention Center continues to draw crowds as the vote keeps counting.Photo: Maritza Zuluaga / AL DIA

Count Every Vote: The Block Party

As election week continues, Philadelphia finds more and exciting ways to express itself in the national spotlight.

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Outside of the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia — where the electoral fate of Philadelphia and Pennsylvania hangs in the balance — on Nov. 5, 2020, the energy could be felt and heard globally. 

As election workers inside counted every ballot, an overwhelming mail-in ballot crush is producing a slow trickle of results. But Philly came prepared to wait it out.

Throughout the day on Arch street, spirits were soaring on one side and dwindling on the other. 

The side demanding every vote get counted had a DJ spinning all day, with Philadelphia councilmembers and other local officials taking the mic at different points throughout the day to drive home the message. 

Senator Nikial Savaal took the floor to explain what was happening inside the walls of the convention center, and broke uneventful, but important news. 

“It was very boring,” he said, citing the only activity going on was the counting of the ballots voters mailed in. 

With barricades around them, Trump supporters were also on the scene to wave their flags in the sky. Refusing to give statements, the small group chanted to ”count every ‘legal’ vote” — a misconception being spread like wildfire by the president’s supporters on social media. The mail-in ballots being processed inside the convention center are just as legal as the previously-processed ones cast on Election Day at polls.

In the afternoon, the Trump supporters took a lunch break as the ‘Count Every Vote’ group kept “dancing to the revolution,” as Councilmember Helen Gym called it when talking to AL DIA. 

Councilmember Kendra Brooks was also in spirits high, but mentioned that the work is not over — it is just the beginning. 

The block party was full of different kinds of people from different organizations. Refuse Fascism was present, BLM, and in the evening, dancing mailboxes made a guest appearance to the beat of Missy Elliot. 

But as the fun carried on, the president was having none of it. Much like his children throughout Nov. 5, Donald Trump continued with baseless claims of fraud and the need to stand up for it.

It was arguably the most dangerous speech he’s made in office, and Philadelphia also got a glimpse of its consequences.

At a quarter past 10 p.m. on Nov. 5, a hummer truck parked at 230 North 13th Street was found with no one inside. A couple of minutes after its discovery later two police officers found two armed men around the Pennsylvania Convention Center. More weapons were found when the truck was searched. 

Neither culprit had a valid permit to carry weapons and was subsequently arrested. Since then, an investigation has been opened into the men. At least one was a known QAnon conspiracy theorist.

Despite the night’s events, on Nov. 6, the block party continued with the same energy as the day before. The 2020 Election is one that will go down in history as a rollercoaster, a hectic moment for the nation, and more specifically, a time when all eyes were on Philadelphia. 

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