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Armed “vigilantes” close to poll drop field in Arizona


A voter casts his ballot at a ballot box outside the Maricopa County Elections Office in Phoenix in August 2022.

Automobiles line as much as vote exterior the Maricopa County Elections Workplace in Phoenix in August. Picture: Justin Sullivan / Getty Photos

No less than two folks in tactical gear and masks and believed to be armed guard a mail-in poll field in Mesa, Arizona, on Friday, Maricopa County Elections stated Saturday.

Why is it necessary: No less than two voters have filed a criticism of voter intimidation to Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs (D) over the previous few days, together with one claiming “folks in camo jackets” took footage whereas a Early ballots have been dropped exterior Maricopa County elections headquarters. , in keeping with KNXV-TV, an ABC-affiliated station in Phoenix.

  • The opposite criticism additionally alleges {that a} voter was filmed and accused of “being a mule” whereas sending their poll to a drop field in Maricopa County, KNXV-TV reported.
  • Arizona regulation prohibits anybody from getting into the 75-foot restrict of a polling place with a weapon, which might be thought-about illegal voter intimidation.
  • Early voting for the 2022 midterms formally begins within the state on October 12.

What are they saying: “On Friday, 2 armed people sporting tactical gear have been at our Mesa polling field. After [Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office] arrived, people left,” the election division stated on Twitter.

  • “The vigilantes to not be notified exterior of Maricopa County’s polling bins don’t improve the integrity of the election. As a substitute, they result in complaints that threaten voters. Regardless of the surveillance and Transparency in our elections is necessary, however intimidation of voters is illegitimate,” it added.
  • “For individuals who wish to take part within the integrity of the election, turn into a pollster or official observer of your political occasion. Do not put on armor to intimidate voters as a result of they’re paying legally re-vote.”

Maricopa . County Board of Trustees Oversight Chairman Invoice Gates and Stephen Richer, the county scribe, condemned the drop field watchers in an announcement on Saturday.

  • “We care deeply concerning the security of people who’re exercising their constitutional proper to vote and who’re legally getting their early ballots within the poll field,” they stated.

Huge image: Gates additionally stated at a press convention final week that election employees have been harassed once they got here to work.

  • He stated in a tweet.
  • The Division of Justice and the FBI recognized Arizona as one of many prime states when it comes to threats to election officers and ballot employees, in keeping with a letter to election officers obtained by Axios.
  • Republican Kari Lake, who’s dealing with Hobbs within the race for Arizona governor, has repeatedly falsely claimed that the 2020 election was rigged in opposition to former President Trump and has proposed new legal guidelines limiting New mechanisms to cope with fraud don’t exist.

Going deeper: FBI identifies Arizona as one of many prime states for threats in opposition to election employees

Editor’s Notice: This story has been corrected to replicate that Kari Lake and Katie Hobbs have been candidates within the Arizona governor’s race, not the Arizona secretary of state race.


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