On Nov. 5, 2020, pro-Trump demonstrators gathered outside the Arizona Capitol building and the Maricopa County Elections Department office to protest alleged election fraud. Complaints included claims that election officials were giving Sharpies to Trump voters to mark their ballots and then invalidating their votes because they had used that type of pen—when, in fact, it was just the opposite: the secretary of state’s office recommended using Sharpies because they dry faster and the voting machines read them more effectively.
The crowd of several hundred included protestors armed with assault rifles. A heavy police presence prevented them from entering government buildings, and although the event was largely peaceful, members of the press reported being threatened as ballot counting continued inside.
Mike Cernovich, an alt-right activist and media personality, organized the rally through social media and led the crowd in chanting “stop the steal!” Among the many extremists in attendance reportedly harassed the media and were members of the anti-government militia the Three Percenters and adherents of the conspiracy theory movement QAnon.
Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.), an extremist with strong ties to white nationalists, spoke to protestors in Phoenix, calling the process and called the process used to tabulate the ballots fraudulent. He also told the crowd of election deniers, “This is our Alamo!” and demanded an investigation from Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich. Gosar tweeted his demands on Nov. 4, writing, “I’ve just requested @GeneralBrnovich to look into this issue. We can not tolerate voter fraud in Arizona.”