Federal judge issues restraining order against armed group surveilling Arizona ballot drop boxes
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Federal judge issues restraining order against armed group surveilling Arizona ballot drop boxes

On Tuesday, US District Judge Michael Liburdi signed a temporary restraining order requiring members of armed groups monitoring ballot drop boxes from getting within 250 feet of the drop boxes following claims of voter intimidation.

At the center of the order was Clean Elections USA, a group committed to monitoring ballot drop off boxes in Arizona. Clean Elections claimed they monitored drop boxes in an effort to prevent “ballot mules” from putting multiple ballots into the box at once, an action Clean Elections viewed as voter fraud. Dressed in full tactical gear, members of Clean Elections surveilled ballot drop off boxes and documented voters dropping off their ballots. Clean Elections members then threatened to release the voter’s private information.

Protect Democracy and the League of Women Voters, filed suit in federal court in Arizona, seeking an injunction to prevent further voter intimidation.

The resulting court order  required members of Clean Elections to stay 75 feet away from any ballot box. It also prevented Clean Elections from following voters to the drop box. For Clean Elections members who openly carry firearms and dress in tactical gear, the order required they stay 250 feet away from the ballot boxes.

The court also required Clean Elections to post a statement on the group’s website and Truth Social, with clear instructions on what is not permitted near ballot drop off boxes. The Court barred Clean Elections from sharing personal information of any voter, including their identity and license plate number. The order also prevented Clean Elections from taking photographs or recording voters, while they are within the 75 foot zone of the drop off box.

As Election Day nears, the Liburdi made clear the court will not tolerate voter intimidation. The US midterm elections take place on November 8.