Judge Issues Restraining Order Against Voter Watchdog Group
(RepublicanDaily.org) – An Arizona judge has issued a restraining order against an election integrity group that’s been watching ballot drop-off boxes. This is a rapid turnaround from last Friday, when the same judge ruled it would be unconstitutional to ban unofficial vote watchers. What’s changed?
BREAKING Federal Judge Michael Liburdi in Phoenix slaps temporary restraining order on Clean Elections USA: No yelling, no body armor, no video at ballot drop boxes & more. Details: https://t.co/nDDZ8NZDVM pic.twitter.com/N0QSH2G6B9
— Brahm Resnik (@brahmresnik) November 2, 2022
Last week, two men wearing body armor, at least one of whom had a handgun openly holstered on the ballistic vest, were spotted near a ballot drop-off in Mesa, AZ. That prompted a lawsuit by the League of Women Voters against the Lions of Liberty, which was organizing the watchers. On October 28, US District Judge Michael Liburdi ruled that banning the observers would violate the group’s constitutional rights.
Now, Liburdi seems to have changed his mind. In response to a new lawsuit filed against Clean Elections USA by the Arizona Alliance for Retired Americans and Voto Latino, he’s issued a restraining order severely restricting the group’s activities. From now on, ballot watchers aren’t allowed to speak to voters unless the voters speak to them first. They’re also not allowed to openly wear body armor or carry guns within 250 feet of the boxes, or video or follow people who’re trying to vote.
Finally, he ordered the group — and specifically activist Melody Jennings — to post statements on social media making clear that it’s not always illegal for someone to drop multiple ballots. Was this a fair ruling by Judge Liburdi, or should armed private citizens be allowed to video and follow people as they exercise their democratic rights?
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