Groups ask appeals court to stop individuals gathering at Arizona ballot drop boxes to surveil voters

A federal appeals court was asked on Friday night to issue an emergency order blocking individuals from gathering at Arizona ballot drop boxes to record voters.

The Arizona Alliance for Retired Americans and Voto Latino turned to the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals after a district court judge denied their request earlier Friday for a temporary restraining order.

“Absent emergency relief, Defendants’ ongoing campaign of voter intimidation at ballot drop boxes in Arizona will continue and likely get worse, irreparably depriving Arizona voters of their right to vote freely and without intimidation through the means that Arizona law provides, and irreparably harming Plaintiffs and their members,” the request with the 9th Circuit said.

“Defendants’ intimidation campaign has already produced more than a half-dozen voter intimidation complaints and multiple law enforcement responses to drop boxes,” the filing read. “Defendants paused much of their incitement when this case was filed, but now that the district court has denied Plaintiffs’ motion, they are likely to resume their activities unless this Court takes immediate action.”

The organizations are suing the group Cleans Elections USA and its founder, Melody Jennings, accusing of them of coordinating a campaign of voter intimidation by calling on people to gather at drop boxes to record voters.

The defendants’ lawyer has denied that her clients have encouraged anyone to break the law and say that the plaintiffs haven’t provided evidence that Jennings is connected to the conduct that has prompted to voters to file complaints of intimidation to elections officials.

The plaintiffs are seeking an order prohibiting the defendants from “gathering within sight of drop boxes; from following, taking photos of, or otherwise recording voters or prospective voters, those assisting voters or prospective voters, or their vehicles at or around a drop box; and from training, organizing, or directing others to do those activities.”

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