Judge allows Arizona group to surveil polls

Southwest

A dropbox is pictured ahead of the midterm elections at the City Hall in Mesa, Arizona, on October 25, 2022. (Photo by OLIVIER TOURON / AFP) (Photo by OLIVIER TOURON/AFP via Getty Images)

(NewsNation) — A federal judge turned down a request for a restraining order against an Arizona group that has been accused of voter intimidation.

The plaintiffs in the case, the Arizona Alliance for Retired Americans and Voto Latino, alleged that the organization Clean Elections USA has been engaged in intimidation by physically surveilling ballot boxes in Maricopa County, Arizona.

Judge Michael T. Liburdi, who was appointed by former President Donald Trump, rejected their argument in a 14-page ruling.

“Plaintiffs have not provided the Court with any evidence that Defendants’ conduct constitutes a true threat,” Liburdi wrote. “On this record, Defendants have not made any statements threatening to commit acts of unlawful violence to a particular individual or group of individuals. There is no evidence that Defendants have publicly posted any voter’s names, home addresses, occupations, or other personal information.”

Some Arizona voters have said that Clean Elections USA’s monitoring of drop boxes — which includes filming individual voters, is intimidating.

Jenea Phillips Mesa filed a complaint to the Arizona Secretary of State after it appeared that someone was filming her. “My intuition just told me that something was off,” Phillips said. “It made me nervous, but I also wanted to report it to be able to provide for the safety of other voters.”

The Arizona Alliance for Retired Americans said the ruling was “truly disappointing” in a statement provided to the press, saying that “American citizens should be able to cast a ballot without fear of personal injury or other harm to their safety and security.”

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