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Arizona Sheriff Increases Security for Ballot Drop-boxes

phoenix – The sheriff of the metropolitan Phoenix said on Monday he has stepped up security around him. ballot box After a string of incidents involving people watching the box and taking a video after voters were clearly inspired Lies about the 2020 election.

On Friday, lawmakers responded when two masked people with guns and wearing bulletproof vests showed up at a drop box in Mesa, a suburb of Phoenix. She said her office had received six cases of possible blackmail and threatening emails sent to state election officials.

People looking at the boxes and voters who came to vote covered their license plates, according to photos shared on social media.

At a press conference, Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone said, “Every day, we put a significant amount of resources into just giving people confidence that it’s safe to vote, and that’s ridiculous. Penzone.” said his office referred the two cases to the county prosecutor for possible criminal charges.

Fueled by former President Donald Trump’s false claims in 2020, exposed film “2,000 Mules” drop box Became hotbed of conspiracy theories He claimed without proof that people illegally collected and kept ballots.

Election security experts and Trump’s own National Security and Justice Department officials No fraud is enough to change the outcome of the 2020 electionDozens of lawsuits filed after the election have been dismissed, many by Trump-appointed judges.

Arizona, which had the smallest margin of victory for President Joe Biden two years ago, is now facing some of the country’s most high-profile midterm elections, including a Senate election that could shift the balance of power in Congress. I’m holding

“The ignorant vigilantes outside the Maricopa County drop-box are not enhancing the integrity of the election,” said Maricopa County Recorder Steven Richer and County Oversight Board Chairman Bill Gates. “Instead, they are leading to voter intimidation complaints.”

Both Richer and Gates are Republicans.

Voters filing a complaint with Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs allege they were filmed and, in some cases, tracked by people monitoring drop-boxes.

“Two people took pictures of our license plate and car as we approached the car,” wrote one voter. “I went out and asked what they were doing. reported to the Department of Justice for the allusion and harassment of

Asked at an unrelated event Monday whether he was concerned about the threats reported in states like Arizona and whether the Department of Justice would be involved, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland said the Department of Justice “will not participate.” We have a duty to ensure free and fair voting by all who vote.” Eligible to vote and will not allow voters to be intimidated. ”

A group of Dropbox watchers who saw Dropbox filming in Maricopa County last week told a local reporter that the group is gathering teams to watch Dropbox in several states this midseason. He said that he participates in Clean Elections USA.

The group’s founder, Melody Jennings, said in a podcast interview last month that she hopes 10 volunteers will work shifts day and night to videodrop dropboxes across the country.

Jennings said she wants volunteers to stay away from drop-boxes and follow local laws. But she added that she needed to sit in a visible location to act as a “human shield” to deter potential ballot “mules” from coming to the dropbox.

Despite allegations in the film about the 2020 election, there is no evidence to support the idea that a network of Democratic-affiliated ballot “mules” conspired to collect ballots and deliver them to drop-boxes.

Two left-leaning advocacy groups filed lawsuits against Clean Elections USA on Monday, alleging that the group’s vote-monitoring activities violated the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871. rice field. Phoenix court bans groups from gathering on drop-box premises and filming voters.

Arizona Sen. Kelly Townsend praised and encouraged “all vigilantes who want to camp in these drop boxes” earlier this year.

“Don’t do it,” Townsend wrote.

Sheriff Penzone pleaded with the people to respect everyone’s right to vote and to let law enforcement officers investigate suspected violations of the law. He said the focus on securing elections has taken resources away from criminal investigations.

“But people have to cheat if that’s what we have to do to protect our democracy, so we come to the polls and babysit,” said Penzone, a Democrat. said.


Associated Press writers Eric Tucker of Washington and Ari Swenson of New York contributed to this report.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

https://www.ksat.com/news/politics/2022/10/25/arizona-sheriff-steps-up-security-around-ballot-drop-boxes/ Arizona Sheriff Increases Security for Ballot Drop-boxes

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