This is big news here in AZ...
‘Things are getting worse’: Far-right voter intimidation in Arizona targeted in federal lawsuit
A lawsuit filed in US District Court accuses a far-right activist group of intimidating Arizona voters with the “express purpose” of blocking them from casting their ballots in stark violation of federal civil rights protections.
On 24 October, Arizona Alliance for Retired Americans, which represents roughly 50,000 retirees in the state, and voting rights organisation Voto Latino filed a 64-page complaint with a motion seeking a restraining order against Clean Elections USA and its founder Melody Jennings.
“Things are getting worse,” according to the complaint.
Two armed men in tactical gear in Maricopa County were recently filmed watching over drop boxes where voters can deposit their mail-in or absentee ballots. The following day, armed monitors in “full disguises, tactical â€‹â€‹gear, and magazine clips” were staking out another drop box in the city of Mesa.
Plaintiffs accuse Clean Election USA of violating the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871, which prohibits “conspir[ing] to prevent, by force, intimidation, or threat, any citizen who is lawfully entitled to vote, from giving his support or advocacy in a legal manner.”
“Immediate relief is necessary,” according to the lawsuit. “Defendants’ organized vigilante groups have already turned away voters.”
The lawsuit requests that a federal court judge grant an order that would block the group from gathering near drop boxes and from taking photos or recording videos of voters or people assisting them.
Without that relief, “voters will be subjected to intimidation, threats, and perhaps even force or physical harm at the hands of vigilante drop box watchers,” according to the lawsuit.
And in a related story...
Right-Wing Operatives Plead Guilty in Voter-Suppression Scheme
Two right-wing political operatives have pleaded guilty in Ohio to a telecommunications fraud charge for arranging thousands of robocalls that falsely claimed that the information voters included with mail ballots could be used by law enforcement and debt collectors, prosecutors said.
The operatives, Jacob Wohl, 24, of Los Angeles, and Jack Burkman, 56, of Arlington, Va., entered their pleas on Monday in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court in Cleveland, prosecutors said.
The men were indicted in 2020 after they were accused of using the robocalls to intimidate residents in minority neighborhoods to refrain from voting by mail at a time when many voters were reluctant to cast ballots in person because of the coronavirus pandemic. The calls also claimed that the government could use mail-in voting information to track people for mandatory vaccination programs, prosecutors said.
“These individuals infringed upon the right to vote, which is one of the most fundamental components of our democracy,” the Cuyahoga County prosecutor, Michael C. O’Malley, said in a statement announcing the guilty pleas on Monday.
According to the indictment, Mr. Wohl and Mr. Burkman were each charged with multiple counts of bribery and telecommunications fraud. Those charges were merged into one count each of telecommunications fraud under the plea deal in Ohio, James Gutierrez, an assistant Cuyahoga County prosecutor, said in an interview on Tuesday.