Group can monitor Arizona ballot drop boxes, US judge rules

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(ANITA SNOW – Associated Press, PHOENIX) – A federal judge Friday refused to bar a group from monitoring outdoor ballot boxes in Arizona’s largest county where watchers have shown up armed and in ballistic vests, saying to do so could violate the monitors’ constitutional rights.
U.S. District Court Judge Michael Liburdi said the case remained open and that the Arizona Alliance for Retired Americans could try again to make its argument against a group calling itself Clean Elections USA. A second plaintiff, Voto Latino, was removed from the case.
Liburdi concluded that “while this case certainly presents serious questions, the Court cannot craft an injunction without violating the First Amendment.” The judge is a Trump appointee and a member of the Federalist Society, a conservative legal organization.
Local and federal law enforcement have been alarmed by reports of people, including some who were masked and armed, watching 24-hour ballot boxes in Maricopa County — Arizona’s most populous county — and rural Yavapai County as midterm elections near. Some voters have complained alleging voter intimidation after people watching the boxes took photos and videos, and followed voters.
Arizona law states electioneers and monitors must remain 75-foot (23-meter) from a voting location.
“Plaintiffs have not provided the Court with any evidence that Defendants’ conduct constitutes a true threat…

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