Lawsuit filed in Arizona to stop vigilante surveillance of drop boxes
Oct 25, 2022, 7:00 PM
PHOENIX — Protect Democracy filed a lawsuit Tuesday on behalf of the League of Women Voters of Arizona in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona.
The groups named in the lawsuit include the Lions of Liberty, the Yavapai County Preparedness Team (both related to the Oath Keepers of Yavapai County), Clean Elections USA, a “grassroots organization committed to election integrity,” and several individuals, a press release said.
The lawsuit states these groups and individuals have been “actively planning, coordinating, and recruiting for widespread campaigns to surveil and intimidate Arizona voters at ballot drop boxes and baselessly accuse them — either directly or indirectly — of committing voter fraud and spread false information about legally valid forms of voting.”
Some of the instances in Arizona have included individuals in tactical gear with weapons likely in hand as well.
Protect Democracy said it thinks the groups are inspired by the movie 2000 Mules which has “ballot mules” dropping multiple ballots in drop boxes.
“The Voting Rights Act protects voters at the ballot free from intimidation, from coercion, from harassment,” State Policy Advocate with Protect Democracy Will Gaona told KTAR News 92.3.
“The Ku Klux Klan Act says any time people conspire to intimidate, harass or threaten voters, they are liable for monetary damages to those voters. It is clear it is illegal to engage in this conduct.”
The League of Women Voters seeks an injunction and a court order saying the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was violated. The act states “no person, whether acting under color of law or otherwise, shall intimidate, threaten, or coerce or attempt to intimidate, threaten or coerce any person for voting or attempting to vote.”
“No voter should have to confront armed individuals or be baselessly accused of fraud just for exercising their fundamental right to vote,” said President of the League of Women Voters of Arizona Pinny Sheoran.
“The actions of the defendants, in this case, are textbook voter intimidation. We’ve talked to voters who have in fact been intimidated into not voting, and it’s not hard to see why.”