Maricopa County will have ‘zero tolerance’ for voting day disrupters, Penzone says
PHOENIX – Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone said there would be “zero tolerance” locally of voting disrupters in either the August primary or November general election.
“We’re going to be zero tolerance with the interference of people’s ability to cast their vote, zero tolerance with the intentions to disrupt democracy by intimidating or acting in a manner that is in conflict with getting people that freedom,” Penzone told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Arizona’s Morning News on Thursday.
“Make no mistake about it: We are committing resources and our time to plan for this.”
Penzone’s comments came hours before a U.S. House committee publicly presented its investigation findings on the Jan. 6, 2021, attack of the Capitol, where an angry mob attempted to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election – Democrat Joe Biden defeating incumbent Republican Donald Trump.
He called attempts to undermine democracy “irresponsible and irrational behavior.”
Other Maricopa County officials are on board with developing a response ahead of time in case of disturbances at polling locations around metro Phoenix.
Penzone said he met with Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Gates and Recorder Stephen Richer on Wednesday to talk about what to do in preparation for Arizona’s primary election Aug. 2 and general election Nov. 8.
“We had a very thoughtful conversation about how we’re going to address this,” he said.
Penzone didn’t get into specifics about how the sheriff’s office would handle such a situation but said he visited law enforcement and election officials around the country to learn more.
“People who want to vote, get the chance. If you’re going to do something in conflict with that, then you’re going to deal with law enforcement supporting democracy,” he said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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