(Ezekiel Loseke, Headline USA) The Department of Justice has joined three interest groups in a lawsuit against Arizona poll watchers, despite a Federal Judge asserting poll watchers have a right to assemble around ballot boxes in Maricopa County.
A federal judge received a complaint about Arizona poll watchers last week, which alleged that they were intimidating voters. However, U.S. District Court Judge Michael Liburdi ruled that poll watchers have a right to assemble around polling places.
This ruling came in opposition to a series of lawsuits brought by a trinity of interest groups. They included Arizona Alliance for Retired Americans, Vote Latino and the League of Women Voters.
The Justice Department has weighed in on the lawsuit, siding with the interest groups, according to Axios. The DOJ did acknowledge the First Amendment. However, it also said “it affords no protection for threats of harm directed at voters.”
While joining the suit, the DOJ said that the First Amendment “does not protect individuals’ right to assemble to engage in voter intimidation or coercion.” It continued “nor does it transform an unlawful activity for one individual—voter intimidation—into a permissible activity simply because multiple individuals have assembled to engage in it.”
This is not the first time the federal government has interfered with Arizona elections. The FBI listed Arizona as “one of [the] top states for threats against election workers,” reported Axios. The FBI claimed that it has reviewed over 1,000 threats against election workers. The FBI reported 58% of threats were made in states where there were election audits, including Arizona.
The audits themselves have been prone to ‘rare’ errors. Consider that a Maricopa County employee was caught on tape using another employees identity to enter into the room where voting machines were stored and erase evidence the night before the machines were to be sent to the Arizona audit.