Sheriff Penzone frustrated, says MCSO spending too much time on election security
PHOENIX — Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone is frustrated that his entity is pouring more time and effort than he deems necessary into making sure vote locations are secure ahead of the Nov. 8 election.
“I’m dedicating a considerable amount of resources just to give people confidence that they can cast a vote safely,” Penzone said Monday during a press conference. “That’s absurd.”
Penzone denounced the recent cases where individuals, dressed in tactical gear, have shown up to vote centers and have allegedly photographed and videotaped people dropping off ballots.
He said MCSO has received 14 election-related tips of people surrounding drop boxes and two suspicious activity criminal reports have been filed.
Penzone said it’s up to the public to behave properly at voting locations, especially since most activity doesn’t rise to a criminal level.
“Every day, people should be looking in the mirror and asking themselves how they’re behaving out there,” Penzone said.
“Because if your intentions are to draw focus on who you are and passively trying to intimidate others casting a vote, then shame on you because they have as much of a right to get to that polling site and drop a ballot as you do.”
Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Mike Broomhead Show on Monday that MCSO has been vigilant in its election security and urged the public to watch proceedings online.
Penzone said he’d continue to make sure people felt safe while voting in the election, but wants to dedicate more time to other matters.
“Please let law enforcement focus on the priorities and stop draining our resources in places unnecessarily because there are folks out there who need our help a heck of a lot more than watching you at a polling site because you’re watching someone else at a polling site videotaping them,” Penzone said.