Detroit, Michigan ballot counter Chiara Clayton told Cosmopolitan about her experience being attacked by President Donald Trump's supporters while trying to tally the vote on Wednesday. Everything was calm and peaceful until a Facebook post went up telling Trump fans, “Everyone come down to TCF, we’re going to demand to be let in.”
Up until that point, the group of Republican ballot watchers were following the rules, which demanded that they stay six feet from the tables where the counters were and remained respectful.
"It was around 3 p.m. that things started to get really hectic," Clayton recalled. "Word had gotten out that President Trump wanted us to stop counting the votes. We had equal amounts of Republican and Democratic and Independent vote challengers in the room, but Republicans demanded that we allow more of their own inside. That’s when Trump’s local supporters converged on us."
Once a crowd of Trump supporters appeared and began chanting, the Republican observers gathered in a corner of the room and then began joining in the chants. They were then removed for violating the rules.
"They started pounding on the windows, chanting, 'Let us in' and 'Stop the count,'" Clayton said. "I got alarmed at that point because they could have broken the glass."
The Detroit police tried to keep things calm and quiet in the ballot counting area. They closed the doors and tried to cover the windows so people couldn't see. Outside, that's when Trump's team started freaking out and spreading fake conspiracies that something fraudulent was happening inside.
"I felt like, I can’t believe this is happening. I’ve never in my life seen anything like that. It was jarring, and being accosted while trying to work was really distracting," she explained. "We were still counting, and nothing official had even been put out yet. Why were people already so agitated?"
Clayton noted how grateful she was that there weren't guns involved because it could have gotten a lot worse. Security was kind enough to keep everyone safe, she said, and were happy to walk the staff to their cars.
"It’s just alarming to see that this is the time we’re living in, that people just get beside themselves trying to stop the democratic process," Clayton closed. "I’m so proud of this city though. We had record voter turnout. If people want to work so hard to suppress that, that just lets you know how important it is. No one’s vote should ever be taken for granted. Every single vote matters. I made sure of it."