It was an unprecedented scene in American history. As news coverage across the nation turned its focus to the TCF Center in Detroit on election night 2020, weary poll workers counted votes under stress while angry protestors pounded on the glass windows of the city’s major convention center. Absentee ballots continued to file in for counting through the early hours of the next morning after Election Tuesday, leading to unsubstantiated rumors of alleged fraud spreading across a sea of Republican challengers inside the count room.

As then President-elect Joe Biden began to take the lead in Michigan, rhetoric of election fraud emerged from former President Donald Trump’s camp, spurring on election challengers and protestors at the TCF Center into action. Challengers circled poll worker’s tables to chant, “Stop the Count,” before being escorted out by police and claiming a lack of representation.

Tensions rose outside the count room where Democratic and Republican challengers protested to get back inside. At the same time, a frenzy of misinformation began to spread across social media. Could protesting the results of the election have led to the attack at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6? Detroit Free Press reporters and video journalists take us inside the TCF Center on election night to provide unparalleled coverage of our democracy on the verge of chaos.


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