Weekend wrap-up: Here are the biggest Arizona stories from Oct. 21-23

Oct 23, 2022, 5:06 PM
Shipping containers fill gaps in the U.S.-Mexico border wall in Yuma. Shipping containers are also ...
Shipping containers fill gaps in the U.S.-Mexico border wall in Yuma. Shipping containers are also being used on other parts of the Arizona-Mexico border. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — Maricopa County officials condemned the use of tactical gear and armed weapons at ballot drop boxes, Gov. Doug Ducey filed a lawsuit in federal court defending the state’s use of shipping containers at the southern border and a couple from Mesa filed a complaint with the Secretary of State’s Office accusing a group of filming and following them from a drop box.

Here are some of the biggest stories that headlined the Arizona news cycle over the weekend.

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

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 were seen leaving the area.

Gov. Ducey files lawsuit over shipping containers, Arizona’s right to defend itself

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey filed a lawsuit in federal court on Friday defending the state’s use of shipping containers to close gaps in the southern border barrier.

The lawsuit seeks to affirm Arizona’s right to defend itself after the federal government said the containers were illegally placed and need to be removed.

“Arizona is taking action to protest on behalf of our citizens. With this lawsuit, we’re pushing back against efforts by federal bureaucrats to reverse the progress we’ve made,” Ducey said in a press release.

Couple in Mesa accuses group of filming, following them from drop box

A couple from Mesa filed a complaint with the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office on Monday accusing a group of filming and following them from a drop box.

The husband said the group was at the Mesa Juvenile Court drop box, located near Baseline and McQueen roads, at about 6:40 p.m. Monday when they were dropping off their ballots, according to the complaint.

The group started filming and photographing the couple, accusing them of being mules, the complaint said.

Court issues stay to block Biden’s student loan forgiveness program

A federal appeals court late Friday issued an administrative stay temporarily blocking President Joe Biden’s plan to cancel billions of dollars in federal student loans, throwing the program into limbo just days after people began applying for loan forgiveness.

The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals issued the stay while it considers a motion from six Republican-led states to block the program. The stay ordered the Biden administration not to act on the program while it considers the appeal.

It’s unclear what the decision means for the 22 million borrowers who already applied for the relief. The Biden administration had promised not to clear any debt before Oct. 23 as it battled the legal challenges, but the soonest it was expected to begin erasing debt was mid-November.

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Weekend wrap-up: Here are the biggest Arizona stories from Oct. 21-23