Federal Judge On Arizona Ballot Box Watchers

Federal Judge On Arizona Ballot Box Watchers

After voters in Arizona complained about right-wing activists aggressively guarding polling places, a federal judge issued tighter limits against the group. Within 250 feet of drop boxes, the judge prohibited members of the organisation Clean Elections USA from openly carrying guns or donning body armour.

The judge also forbade members from yelling or speaking to voters as they were casting their ballots. The court order also prohibits the group from taking pictures or videos of any voters at the drop boxes or publishing similar images online, which they have recently done.

The decision is a partial victory for the liberal and civic organisations that sued Clean Elections USA, which erroneously claimed that the 2020 election was rigged and that its drop box stakeouts are required to stop widespread voter fraud in the 2022 midterm elections.

The decision is made when worries about violence at the elections are growing. At least one voter spoke about the intimidation he and his wife experienced when submitting their ballots at a Mesa drop box during the lengthy hearing that federal judge Michael Liburdi, a Trump appointment, held on Tuesday.

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The parties agreed upon some of the stipulations included in Liburdi’s order to the action. But Liburdi imposed restrictions on Clean Elections USA that, in the opinion of its attorneys, were unnecessary for some crucial elements, particularly those relating to filming and doxing voters.

The right-wing activists assert that their sole objective is to stop illegitimate voting legally. Four days after reaching a different conclusion in a separate case, the judge issued his judgement, denying on Friday to give an order limiting the drop box stakeouts. Liburdi said at the time that there wasn’t sufficient proof to restrict the group’s First Amendment right to peaceful assembly.

The Justice Department offered its opinion on the matter in between the two decisions. Federal prosecutors said that the right-wing group’s “vigilante ballot security activities” were probably unlawful and that they “raise severe concerns of voter intimidation” in a legal brief submitted Monday.

The League of Women Voters, the organisation that brought the action, supported some of the legal ideas in its brief even though the Justice Department did not explicitly take a side. According to Liburdi, the temporary restraining order he issued will last for the balance of the election season because it expires in two weeks. November 8 is election day.

 

Voter reports “terrifying” encounter with “bullies” at the drop box

During the five-hour hearing on Tuesday, a voter from Arizona described his interaction with right-wing “bullies” at a ballot drop box and how they “terrified” his wife by photographing them and making unfounded accusations of voter fraud.

On the evening of October 17, the 51-year-old voter testified about his voting experience. His name was kept a secret to ensure his safety. The voter claimed that when he and his wife visited a drop box in Mesa, they were immediately hounded by a group of individuals with cameras who called them “mules.” In right-wing groups, this expression is frequently used to refer to those who vote in violation of the law by mail.

The voter claimed that his wife was in “total shock,” was “terrified,” and was “convinced that the people filming us were there for ill will” and wanted to leave without casting their votes. He decided to vote alone, leaving his wife in the car. He claimed that others in the group “asked if I was a mule” almost immediately after he entered the room.

The voter claimed that in response, he denied being a “mule” and made a vulgar gesture in their direction. The voter said that because “there were more of them than me” and there was an “implied threat,” the circumstance made him feel harassed and tormented. He added that doxing was something that troubled him.

The voter explained how Melody Jennings, the founder of Clean Elections USA, unjustly accused him of being a “mule” by posting many pictures of him and his automobile on social media when he was casting his ballot. The man stated that he would not use the drop box to cast his vote again if he had a second chance and knew that people were waiting outside to try to influence him in any way.