A Detroit poll challenger encountered an unexpected scenario when he volunteered his time at TCF Center on Nov. 4. Brayden Giacobazzi shared his experience with Willis Krumholz in a video interview with Alpha News this week.
Giacobazzi, who is not registered as a Democrat or Republican, had watched the Nov. 3 election until 4:30 a.m., at which point it seemed clear that President Donald Trump was ahead in Michigan. The morning of Nov. 4, Giacobazzi was asked by a GOP friend to volunteer to challenge ballots that supposedly arrived in the middle of the night, according to other witnesses.
Giacobazzi was trained by GOP volunteers at TCF Center. Shortly after he arrived, there weren’t any ballots to check.
“While we were (just sitting around) … there was a big commotion at the front of the room. They were cheering and shouting,” he said. He was told GOP challengers had been kicked out, which he took to be the cause of the cheering. “All the doors were locked, and they were card-boarding up the windows so nobody could see in. There was a bunch of people banging on the doors, trying to get back in.”
Every 30 minutes or so, clapping ensued as another GOP volunteer was kicked out. Giacobazzi guessed there were between 130-160 GOP challengers at the beginning of the day, and less than 75 by the time he himself was escorted out by police.
As a poll challenger, Giacobazzi’s job was to look at the ballots and verify information.
“For instance, the ballot comes in an envelope that has a number that has to match the number that’s on the ballot,” he said.
Toward the end of the day, he said he stepped up to a table to challenge a ballot with mismatched numbers, and a supervisor immediately approached him, raising her voice and saying he was closer than six feet to others. A man then came over to Giacobazzi to “intimidate and agitate” him, claiming that he wasn’t social distancing, was wearing his mask incorrectly, and was holding his pen in a “threatening way.”
“These guys were like professional agitators, trying to get your blood to boil so you’d do something that would give them an excuse to kick you out,” Giacobazzi said. He later said, “I saw no Democrats throughout the day that were hauled off like I was.”
During this time, Giacobazzi said ballots that appeared to have “challenger stickers” on them — showing that the names appeared to be missing on the voter rolls — were being put through the machines.
“They were simply entering the birthdate of 1/1/1900, and then entering an address which they wouldn’t allow us to check because they wouldn’t let us near enough to the screen,” Giacobazzi said.
Throughout the day, Giacobazzi noticed that any time he approached a table to challenge a ballot, people would hunch over their papers, making it difficult for him to see. They said things like, “get away from me,” “COVID this, COVID that,” “my health,” “do you want to kill me?”
“It was like it was on command,” Giacobazzi said. “But nobody seemed to care if there were multiple Democrats (at one table) and if they were within six feet. It would routinely be that way.”
Eventually, a friend of his went to get a Republican lawyer, who arrived and informed the poll workers that Giacobazzi had every right to verify the ballots.
“The guy starts trying to intimidate the lawyer, trying to argue with the lawyer about what the law is … in the meantime, more ballots are just going through, and we’re missing them,” Giacobazzi said. “So, I step in again to try to see if the numbers match.”
At this point, the main agitator stepped within a foot and a half of Giacobazzi and said a phrase similar to “I’ll kick your ass” or “I’ll kick you out of here.” Giacobazzi asked in a loud voice if he was being threatened, and he was then escorted out by a police officer, who asked no questions as to what had happened. This was after volunteering for 8-10 hours at the TCF Center.
“What I found is that when I try to get this message out … most of the media doesn’t want to cover it,” Giacobazzi said.
“It was a very existential fear … that this was how the election was run in multiple cities, and this should worry anybody that values a free and fair election,” he added.
Giacobazzi has signed an affidavit and given testimony for legal action under penalty of perjury regarding the events that took place on Nov. 4 at TCF Center in Detroit.