Several voting rights have urged federal judges to bar ballot box observers from doing stakeouts on potential voting locations in Arizona.
Two lawsuits were filed this week in relation to this matter, one from the Arizona Alliance for Retired Americans and Vote Latino, another filed by Protect Democracy on behalf of The League of Women Voters of Arizona.
The lawsuits are targeting the organization Clean Elections USA, which has setup drop box surveillance in the Phoenix area. The latter suit has also named Lions of Liberty, who describe themselves as conservative patriots, and are based in Yavapai County.
The lawsuit filed by Protect Democracy argued that the conservative groups are trying to intimidate voters.
“Indeed, because of Defendants’ campaigns, Arizona voters who wish to lawfully use drop boxes must do so under threat that they will be monitored by armed vigilantes, have their faces and cars filmed, be baselessly reported to law enforcement, and have their reputations and personal safety put at risk,” the lawsuit said.
The lawsuits were filed not long after those surveilling the drop boxes reportedly began taking photos and video of voters at Maricopa County’s two outdoor ballot drop boxes near downtown Phoenix and Mesa. Voters in Yavapai County also reported seeing monitors close to their drop boxes.
Several senior political figures in Maricopa, including Recorder Stephen Richer and Sheriff Paul Penzone, have asked the drop box monitors to go home. Despite this, the groups have remained a constant presence at the voting locations.
Arizona election officials have referred six complaints of voter intimidation, all of which were made in the Phoenix area, to federal authorities.
“The more folks that there are creating problems, the more deputies you’re going to see on the streets focused on this,” Penzone said during a press conference on Monday. “We’ll come and babysit polling sites because people want to misbehave, if that’s what we have to do to protect democracy.”
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