Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Fed. Judge to Rule on Ariz. Citizens’ Right to Monitor Ballot Drop-Boxes

'As the several election threat-related cases pending federal felony charges from alleged criminal activity arising out of our State show, acts which cross the line will not go unaddressed...'

(Headline USA) A federal judge in Arizona said he hopes to decide by Friday whether to order members of a group to stop monitoring outdoor ballot drop-boxes in the Phoenix area in an effort that has sparked allegations of voter intimidation.

Left-wing activist groups Arizona Alliance for Retired Americans and Voto Latino asked Trump-appointed U.S. District Judge Michael Liburdi during a Wednesday hearing to prevent members of Clean Elections USA from gathering within sight of drop boxes in Maricopa County, the state’s most populous, and from following voters and taking photos and videos of them and their cars.

The attorney for Clean Elections USA said that such a broad restraining order would be unconstitutional.

Liburdi said he hoped to issue a decision by Friday but could continue to weigh the matter into the weekend.

The League of Women Voters filed a similar suit Tuesday in federal court in Arizona, alleging that Clean Elections USA is intimidating voters.

The line echoes earlier talking points deployed by Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, also the Democrat candidate for governor, who has aggressively challenged pro-integrity reformists from implementing changes in the wake of the highly controversial 2020 election, which she oversaw.

Hobbs, a George Soros-backed official, herself was echoing earlier talking points crafted by election-stealing Democrat super-lawyer Marc Elias, who first appeared to craft them during activist challenges to the Arizona legislature’s audit of the 2020 election.

The current lawfare suit also alleges that the groups Lions of Liberty and the Yavapai County Preparedness Team, which are associated with the Oath Keepers, have undertaken their own effort to watch ballot boxes and film voters in Arizona’s Yavapai County.

While the effort to demand more transparency—including through grassroots citizen activism—began in the aftermath of the stolen 2020 election, it was bolstered further by the Dinesh D’Souza-produced documentary 2000 Mules, which used cell-phone GPS tracking and surveillance footage obtained via public-records requests in Georgia to expose Democrat activists getting paid to travel among drop boxes and stuff them with fraudulent ballots.

Such ballot-harvesting, although embraced by blue states like California, is illegal in both Georgia and Arizona due to the chain-of-custody concerns it creates.

Amid the complaints from voters who say they have been harassed, Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone, who is also funded by George Soros, said this week his office has begun providing “security” around drop boxes, likely as a form of intimidation against the drop-box monitors.

Sheriff’s deputies responded when two masked people carrying guns and wearing bulletproof vests showed up at a drop box in the Phoenix suburb of Mesa, although there is no evidence to suggest they were part of the GOP-led transparency effort.

Hobbs this week said her office has referred six cases of potential voter intimidation to the state attorney general and the U.S. Department of Justice, as well as a threatening email sent to the state elections director.

The U.S. attorney’s office in Arizona said it is also keeping an eye on cases alleging voter intimidation and vowed to prosecute those who violate federal law.

Federal officials said local police officers would be the “front line in efforts to ensure that all qualified voters are able to exercise their right to vote free of intimidation or other election abuses.”

“We will vigorously safeguard all Arizonans’ rights to freely and lawfully cast their ballot during the election,” the office said Wednesday. “As the several election threat-related cases pending federal felony charges from alleged criminal activity arising out of our State show, acts which cross the line will not go unaddressed.”

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich—a Republican who lost his own Senate primary bid to political neophyte Blake Masters after refusing to thoroughly investigate election irregularities—called on voters to report any intimidation immediately to police and file a complaint with his office.

“Regardless of intent, this type of misguided behavior is contrary to both the laws and values of our state,” said Brnovich.

Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press

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