Voter Intimidation Affecting Midterms

Photo by Oxana Melis on Unsplash

On Saturday (October 22), Arizona officials expressed concern about voter safety after two individuals dressed in tactical gear were outside a Maricopa County ballot drop box on Friday evening.

In a joint statement, Maricopa County County Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Gates and Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer, wrote “We are deeply concerned about the safety of individuals who are exercising their constitutional right to vote and who are lawfully taking their early ballot to a drop box.”

The pair warned that “Uninformed vigilantes outside Maricopa County’s drop boxes are not increasing election integrity. Instead, they are leading to voter intimidation complaints.”

Gates and Richer then addressed those who have or are thinking of wearing body armor to protect election integrity, telling them to rather “become a poll worker or an official observer with your political party.”

“Although monitoring and transparency in our elections is critical, voter intimidation is unlawful. For those who want to be involved in election integrity, become a poll worker or an official observer with your political party. Don’t dress in body armor to intimidate voters as they are legally returning their ballots,” Gates and Richer continued.

Friday’s incident came after Arizona’s Secretary of State referred an incident of voter intimidation to the state’s attorney general and the Department of Justice after a voter attempting to cast their ballot was reportedly “approached and followed by a group of individuals.”

In the 2020 election, Maricopa County took center stage in former President Donald Trump’s claims the election was stolen from him. The controversy surrounding Maricopa County’s elections was only heightened when the state contracted Cyber Ninjas to conduct a controversial audit.