ARIZONA NEWS

Maricopa County Recorder Richer, Chairman Gates condemn use of tactical gear near ballot drop boxes

Oct 22, 2022, 7:00 PM | Updated: Oct 23, 2022, 4:44 pm

PHOENIX — County officials on Saturday condemned two individuals armed and in tactical gear who were observing voters at ballot drop boxes in the Valley.

“We are deeply concerned about the safety of individuals who are exercising their constitutional right to vote and who are lawfully taking their early ballot to a drop box,” Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer and Chairman Bill Gates said in a joint statement.

The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office responded to a ballot drop box in Mesa Friday evening after receiving reports of two armed individuals in tactical gear near the area. The two individuals seen left the area.

“Uninformed vigilantes outside Maricopa County’s drop boxes are not increasing election integrity. Instead they are leading to voter intimidation complaints,” the statement said.

“Although monitoring and transparency in our elections is critical, voter intimidation is unlawful.”

The statement added that those looking to be involved in election integrity can “become a poll worker or an official observer with your political party. Don’t dress in body armor to intimidate voters as they are legally returning their ballots.”

There are currently 12 Vote Centers and 16 drop boxes within the city and town facilities.

An early ballot can also be returned by mail, with the last day recommended to return a ballot on Nov. 1.

More information on ballot drop off sites can be found online.

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Maricopa County Recorder Richer, Chairman Gates condemn use of tactical gear near ballot drop boxes