A lawsuit was filed to stop surveillance of drop boxes in Arizona



CNN

The Arizona chapter of the League of Women Voters filed a lawsuit late Tuesday in federal court targeting groups and individuals it says are conspiring to intimidate voters in Arizona through a coordinated effort called “Operation Drop Box.”

That suit was filed on behalf of the League in the US District Court of Arizona by a group known as Protect Democracy. This is the second lawsuit recently filed in federal court regarding the behavior of people – some of whom are armed – watching and filming voters at the ballot boxes in Arizona.

The lawsuit alleges the conduct violates the Voting Rights Act and another federal law that prohibits conspiracies to intimidate voters. He is seeking an injunction to prevent the defendants from “further intimidating voters or otherwise violating the law.”

In the lawsuit, the League argues that the behavior of the people who have been monitoring the boxes in Yavapai and Maricopa counties is part of an “escalating scheme of intimidation and harassment of voters in Arizona” and undermines the rights of voters to “cast their free” ballot. from intimidation, threats or coercion.”

The voting rights organization alleges Lions of Liberty LLC and the Yavapai County Preparedness Team — two groups the league says are related to the Yavapai County Oath Keepers — along with a group called Clean Elections USA, are “actively planning.” coordinating and recruiting extensive campaigns to monitor and intimidate Arizona voters at the ballot box and baselessly accuse them—directly or indirectly—of voter fraud and spread false information about legally valid ballots.”

An official with the Yavapai County Training Group declined to comment on the case when reached by CNN on Tuesday. An attorney for Clean Elections USA did not immediately respond to CNN’s inquiry. CNN has also reached out to the Lions of Liberty through the group’s website.

The lawsuit notes that the behavior of the guards – some of whom have been wearing masks and tactical gear – appears to be inspired by the condemned movie known as “2000 Mules”, which promoted a right-wing conspiracy theory called “the vote”. mules” illegally left a vote in several boxes in the last election. The lawsuit says the film has been “completely dismissed by experts” and that “images of innocent voters voting legally” are used to “sell a dangerous conspiracy theory.”

The people marking the ballot boxes, the League argued, are also spreading the lie that Arizonans are breaking the law every time they cast another person’s ballot, when state law allows household members, caretakers and election officials to do so. supporting voters by casting their ballots.

The lawsuit says the Freedom Lions and the Yavapai County Training Group are “engaging in an extensive campaign to patrol every ballot box in Yavapai County, film voters and then notify law enforcement of voters who place more than one ballot.” The scheme involves asking “patriots” to make rounds to check all the boxes in the county and take pictures of voters who cast more than one ballot, as well as pictures of their car and license plate, and then report their findings. Yavapai County Sheriff.

The league says Clean Elections USA and founder Melody Jennings have organized a campaign known as “Dropbox Initiative 2022” to target and harass voters, with the intention of “baselessly accusing” voters of being mules and “doxing” them. publicly exposing their personal information online,” the lawsuit said.

Earlier this week, a retiree association and a Latino voter organization filed for a temporary restraining order against Clean Elections USA, alleging that founder Melody Jennings is coordinating a voter intimidation campaign in Arizona. The lawsuit alleged that Clean Elections USA was running afoul of federal law with riots near polling places in Arizona. That lawsuit outlined three complaints that voters have filed with state election officials.

The Arizona Secretary of State has forwarded those and several similar threat complaints to the US Department of Justice.

The two groups, Arizona Alliance for Retired Americans and Voto Latino, are asking for a temporary restraining order that will “prevent the defendants from gathering in plain sight”; following, photographing, or otherwise recording voters or potential voters, voters or voter candidates, or their vehicles in or around a polling station; and others from training, organizing or directing them to carry out these activities.”