Elections 2020: #CountEveryVote–Rallying Call in Hollywood as Trump Boasts and Biden Urges Caution in Undecided Election

Hollywood Clings to Hope as Stars Urge Patience for Full Vote Count


Win McNamee/Getty Images; Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Amid election uncertainty, prominent figures continue to push the message of counting every vote on Wednesday: “Waiting is hard, but democracy is worth waiting for.”

On the eve of the 2020 presidential election, Michael Moore — who famously foresaw a Donald Trump victory in 2016 — was not making any predictions about how the race between Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden would go. “I don’t think people are complacent this time, and I think most people are not taking a victory for granted until the deal is actually sealed.”

Tuesday night’s historic voter turnout proved the first part of his prediction and, by Wednesday morning, the latter was also ringing true.

The morning after the election — as had been cautioned going into Election Day — still had not declared a winner in the presidential race. The Democrats had what is shaping up to be a disappointing night in seeking Senate control. But the tightly contested face-off between Trump and Biden, revealed overnight to be much closer than had been predicted by the polls, was hanging in the balance as more than one million mail-in ballots remained to be counted among the battleground states of Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan — as well as North Carolina, Georgia and Nevada — all had yet to be declared.

On Wednesday afternoon, the first of those key states would be declared for Biden: Wisconsin.

Neither candidate has secured the 270 electoral college votes needed to secure a victory, as has been reported by the Associated Press. But the Wisconsin win brings Biden to 248 electoral vote, while Trump currently has 213.

Despite the uncertain results, President Trump falsely and prematurely declared victory in a Tuesday night speech, threatening court action over “a fraud on the American republic.”

He said, “We’ll be going to the U.S. Supreme Court, we want all voting to stop, we don’t want them to find any ballots at 4 o’clock in the morning and add them to the list. It’s a very sad moment.”

Trump’s claims resulted in swift response from the Biden campaign — calling Trump’s words about trying to shut down the counting of ballots as “outrageous, unprecedented and incorrect.”  It sparked social media outcry from Hollywood stars and figures, many taking to Twitter to voice collective unrest since polls closed.

In the early hours of Wednesday morning, however, the Hollywood mood shifted to be more hopeful, as the counting in the remaining states that had paused late in the night was set to restart. The coronavirus pandemic led to a historic number of absentee mail-in ballots — an unprecedented 103.2 million people voted early, according to the AP. Emerging data on the key remaining states revealed what political experts had believed ahead of the election, that Democrats would vote disproportionately by mail, while Republicans would vote disproportionately in person.

As Mark Ruffalo  said: “This #RedMirage is about to ‘turn the corner’ into a #BlueWall. Take a breath and get centered in yourself for the next coming days.”

Many movie stars stress Count Every Vote, urge patience so every ballot can be processed.

Some began to throw their support behind the group, Protect the Results, which is “building a coalition of voters ready to mobilize if Trump undermines the results of the 2020 presidential election.”

Moore, in his own morning-after take on Facebook, called out the group while urging voters to join the movement and demand that every single vote be counted. Leading up to the election, Hollywood activists had stressed patience on social media.  “The only vote thief here will be Trump,” the filmmaker wrote.

“I am writing this at 7:45 a.m. on Nov. 4 and here’s how I see it. First, I just slept like a baby in my chair with the TV blaring. For three hours. That’s cause I dozed off at 4:30 a.m. knowing this: Millions of ballots — all of them from early and mail-in voting which the majority of Democrats did — had not been counted!” he wrote, citing that the majority of the 2.2 million uncounted ballots, at the time, from Pennsylvania were from registered Democrats.

He also called out Biden for flipping Arizona, which hasn’t gone to a Democrat since the 1996 presidential election, and winning the 2nd Congressional district of Nebraska, which had gone for Trump in 2016: “Trump has not flipped a single state that Hillary won! Only Biden is flipping states and electors that Trump won in 2016. And he will flip more today as the ballots continue to be counted.”

He continued, “TV last night provided Trump with the graphic map he needed — all those states in blood red — so Trump came out and stood in the middle of the night in front of a hundred American flags and declared victory and ordered the counting of all the ballots to cease. … We had been warned about not being fooled by all the early ‘red’ on the map — the ‘red mirage.'” But on Wednesday morning, he noted that as the ballot counters began to restart their counts, “every 10 minutes, for the last hour, Biden has continued to gain on Trump.”

Earlier in the night, as votes were still being counted in most states, Kerry Washington had tweeted a #CountEveryVote video, noting that in 2016 only a few thousand votes decided Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. Debra Messing, Chelsea Handler, Katy Perry, Gabrielle Union, Josh Gad, J

After Trump’s speech on Tuesday night, the #CountEveryVote movement grew louder from Hollywood. “Trump is scared. He knows he is going to lose. If he even dares try to steal this election before every vote is counted, we take to the streets in numbers never witnessed before,” cautioned Josh Gad, a sentiment that has been echoed from some of his Hollywood peers.

And by Wednesday, the wait-and-see messaging remained strong, especially from figures who had been pushing get-out-the-vote campaigns and voter awareness leading up to Election Day.

“Every single vote in this country matters, will be counted and will matter! It is the emblem of our democracy!” wrote Lady Gaga. “Waiting for mail in votes to be counted is a sign that our democracy is working the way it should,” cautioned America Ferrera. “This ain’t over!” wrote Michael Keaton. Lin-Manuel Miranda shared Leslie Odom Jr.’s #WaitForIt PSA, tweeting, “Encore…”. Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Mark Ruffalo tweeted to count every vote.

“Waiting is hard, but democracy is worth waiting for,” noted showrunner Shonda Rhimes.

Later, in an election protection briefing to reporters, shared by Biden on social media, his campaign manager Jen O’Malley predicted: “Joe Biden is on track to win this election and he will be the next President of the United States. We believe we are on a clear path to victory by this afternoon.”

As Wisconsin and Michigan began to shade blue on Wednesday afternoon — with Biden projected by the cable and broadcast news anchors as having narrow leads in those states — Trump’s campaign manager, Bill Stepien, said the president would formally request a Wisconsin recount, citing “irregularities in several Wisconsin counties.” The Trump campaign also filed a suit in Michigan to halt the vote count, claiming it was denied access to observe opening of ballots, according to the AP.

The two states have been a key focus for Hollywood for 2020. Wisconsin — which Trump won by fewer than 23,000 votes in 2016 — was the target of a handful of film and TV reunions, organized by Ben Wikler, chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin. The fundraiser events — which reunited casts from the Princess Bride and Superbad to Veep, Happy Days and The West Wing — raised millions of dollars and courted hundreds of volunteers for the Wisconsin Democrats in the run-up to Nov. 3. The Democratic Party of Michigan, meanwhile, benefited from reunion events with the casts of Homeland and Fright Night.