PITTSFIELD — The message was loud and clear at Park Square on Wednesday — count every vote.

Six local organizations co-hosted a Count Every Vote event after President Donald Trump falsely claimed early Wednesday that he already had won the presidential election and suggested that states should stop counting votes.

“That was the trigger,” said Drew Herzig, the co-chairman of Indivisible Pittsfield. “We didn’t want to do this, but the president made that false statement, so, we knew we had to.”

The election, which remains too close to call in several states, had an unprecedented volume of mail-in voting by people who felt uncomfortable venturing out to the polls in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. Without citing evidence, Trump and some of his supporters have insisted that mail-in voting promotes widespread fraud, and has claimed that ballots not received or counted by the time polls closed are invalid.

Wednesday’s event was one of about 500 held in communities across the country. While it wasn’t solidified until late Tuesday night, the wheels were in motion about two weeks ago, when Herzig connected with Protect the Results, an organization focused on protecting the right to vote in the 2020 election.

“An email blast was sent out saying it needed local organizers,” Herzig said. “There wasn’t any events around here, so, I decided to sign up,”

With the backing of a national organization, which provided 40 signs that read “count every vote,” five other local organizations united with Indivisible Pittsfield to share the message. More than 50 people turned out for the rally.

“We were pretty prepared because we know the narrative [the president] has been trying to sell,” said Jessica Dils, who joined Greylock Together the day after the 2016 presidential election. “The truth is that we’re living in a pandemic, and this election has necessitated a type of voting system that we haven’t seen before in terms of mail-in and early votes.”

“Joe Biden said that it isn’t his decision to make the call — it is up [to] the people,” she said, citing remarks Biden made early Wednesday. “The election should not and will not be called until every vote has been counted.”

In fact, according to the United States Elections Project, over 100 million Americans voted before polls opened on Election Day.

Other organizations on hand Wednesday included the Four Freedoms Coalition, Northern Berkshire Intersectional Partnership, Berkshires Democratic Socialists of America, Berkshire Democratic Brigades and the Berkshire County branch of the NAACP.

Protesters were expected to return at 5 p.m., with about 100 people signed up to attend, according to Herzig. But, a news release sent out by the Berkshire Democratic Brigades about 3:15 p.m. said the afternoon rally would be canceled.

“[The turnout on Wednesday] reinforces my belief in the Berkshires, how informed [residents] are and how much they care about the voting process,” said Al Blake, a member of the executive committee of the Berkshire County branch of the NAACP. “I am very proud, and our NAACP chapter has grown from 200 to over 800 over the summer because of the violence that has happened to Black lives.

“I think that goes hand and hand with protecting the right to vote,” he said.

Jake Mendel can be reached at jmendel@berkshireeagle.com, at @JMendel94 on Twitter and


Sports Reporter

As a lifelong Pittsfield resident, Jake gravitates to the nearest field or park. He joined The Eagle as a paperboy in 2005 and worked his way up, becoming a full-time reporter in 2018. He's currently a sports reporter.