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


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

The League was sued in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona by the group Defending Democracy. This is the second recent lawsuit filed in federal court targeting the behavior of armed individuals who filmed voters at ballot boxes in Arizona.

The suit alleges the conduct violated the Voting Rights Act and another federal law that prohibits conspiracies to intimidate voters. It seeks a court order barring the defendants from “further intimidating voters or violating the law.”

In the lawsuit, the league contends that the behavior of the people monitoring the drop boxes in Yavapai and Maricopa counties is part of a “growing scheme of voter intimidation and harassment in Arizona” that undermines the rights of voters to “freely” cast their ballots. from intimidation, threats or coercion.”

The voting rights organization alleges that Lions of Liberty LLC and the Yavapai County Preparedness Team — two groups the league says are affiliated with Yavapai County’s oath-taking guards — have “aggressively orchestrated” the campaign, along with a group known as Clean Elections USA. Coordinating and recruiting Arizona voters for widespread campaigns to track and intimidate them at the ballot box and unsubstantiatedly – directly or indirectly – allege voter fraud and spread false information about legally valid voting methods.

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

The suit notes that the behavior of the guards — some of whom wore masks and tactical gear — appeared inspired by them. Deleted image Called “2000 Donkeys,” it posited a right-wing conspiracy theory that so-called “vote mules” illegally dropped many votes in drop boxes during the last election. The lawsuit notes that the film has been “thoroughly discredited by experts” and includes “images of innocent voters voting legally” to “fuel a dangerous conspiracy theory.”

Ballot box stackers propagate the lie that Arizonans are breaking the law whenever they deposit a ballot for another person — when in fact state law allows household members, caregivers and election officials to do so. Help the voters by leaving their votes.

The lawsuit alleges that the Lions of Liberty and the Yavapai County Preparedness Committee “engaged in a widespread campaign to monitor all drop boxes in Yavapai County, film voters and report voters who deposit multiple ballots to law enforcement.” The program involves “Patriots” monitoring all drop boxes in the county in shifts, taking pictures of any voter who deposits more than one ballot, their car and license plates, and then reporting their findings. Yavapai County Sheriff.

The league claims that Clean Elections USA and its founder, Melody Jennings, have organized a statewide campaign called “Dropbox Initiative 2022” to track and harass voters — intended to ‘tax’ voters by baselessly accusing them of being ‘mules’. publicly exposing their personal information online,” the suit said.

Earlier this week, the Association for Retired Persons and the Organization for Latino Voters A Temporary restraining order Against Clean Elections USA and its founder, Melody Jennings, they accused her of coordinating a voter intimidation campaign. Arizona.

U.S. District Judge Michael Lipurti said at a hearing Wednesday that he hoped to issue his ruling in the case by Friday, but said it could take the weekend to complete.

The lawsuit alleges Clean Elections USA violated federal law related to incidents near ballot box locations in Arizona and points to three complaints submitted by voters to election officials in the state.

The Arizona Secretary of State has forwarded that and many other similar threats to the US Department of Justice.

The defendants’ attorney, Veronica Lucero, pushed back on the charges Wednesday, telling the judge there was no direct evidence to support her client’s treatment, which has been reported as a threat to Arizona election officials.

But the plaintiffs’ attorneys introduced several witnesses who said they were intimidated by the behavior of people — some of them armed — at ballot boxes across Arizona.

Both groups, the Arizona Alliance for Retired Americans and Voto Latino, are seeking a temporary injunction and preliminary injunction that would prevent the defendants from “gathering within sight of drop boxes; following voters or prospective voters or their vehicles in or around drop boxes; taking photographs of voters or prospective voters; or recording; training, organizing or directing others to perform those acts.

This story was updated Wednesday with additional information.

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