Self-appointed vigilantes inspired to act by lies from the GOP’s far-right MAGA wing about the 2020 election being “stolen” continues to set out early voting boxes in Arizona for signs of fraud they believe, contrary to all evidence, has enabled widespread fraud.
But this isn’t just scary for voters, at least six of them have submitted formal complaints to state agencies as of Wednesday it’s also “ridiculous”, “ridiculous” “Irrational,” and “stupid,” according to Maricopa County’s top elections official — a lifelong Republican.
Most of the problems since early voting began on October 12 has occurred in Maricopa, where people affiliated with groups like Clean Elections USA, an outfit driven by an adjacent minister QAnon, who regularly appeared on the podcast of alleged Trump adviser Steve Bannon. Conspiracy, theorist Melody Jennings, the organization’s founder, has called on groups of 10 at each barrel in Arizona and dozens of other states that have them, to track everyone who comes and goes in an attempt to identify the so-called mules that are cramming the mules. fake ballot box. Many of the box observers were equipped with tactical gear and armor; some were armed.
“From a productivity standpoint, the notion that you’re doing anything for the integrity of our elections, or the accuracy and security of our elections, by being out there is ridiculous. ,” Maricopa County recorder Stephen Richer told The Daily Beast. “Does not make any sense.”
For starters, any Arizonan can mail their early ballot from any mailbox anywhere in the country.
“So the notion that somehow these drop boxes are ‘special,’ or that this is where you might come across some illegal activity, is just ludicrous,” says Richer. is, if I want to collect the ballots, then I… can go to any USPS area in Mississippi if I want to, and mail them in. But I can certainly just go down to the mailing slot. my neighborhood and let them go there. So [that’s] one of the reasons why it’s stupid. “
The “mules” that people like Jennings, who have so far been named in three lawsuits filed by voting rights groups about interference by Clean Elections USA, are a fiction created by far-right agitator Dinesh D’Souza. His radical movie 2,000 mules falsely claiming that the Democrats threw the 2020 election to Joe Biden by illegally adding tens of thousands of fake ballots to the boxes, which were introduced in 40 states for public health reasons during COVID devastated America.
Jennings did not immediately respond to The Daily Beast’s request for comment on Wednesday.
There are only two 24/7 outdoor drop-boxes in Maricopa, a county of 4.5 million, Richer continued, noting that they only exist in the first place because “some people, for whatever reason, don’t. like USPS”. Both are under continuous video surveillance by county-installed cameras and live feeds, providing different angles and views of both boxes as well as the ballot stock and tabulation areas, can be viewed on the official Maricopa County website.
“You can sit in your house and watch these things around the clock,” says Richer. “There’s no reason to be there.”
This is all, of course, in addition to the multitude of security features baked directly into the early vote processing system that has existed in Arizona since 1992, according to Richer. Only a registered voter can request a ballot, a process that includes verifying his or her identity “behind the scenes with Social Security and with the Department of Motor Vehicles,” Richer explained. prefer. The claimant must have a verifiable home address, which is then plotted on a GIS Map.
Officials will then send the voter a piece of mail to make sure the address is valid – if the address comes back as undeliverable, the person’s name will not be added to the voting list. soon, says Richer. After the final early voting ballot is mailed, it must be returned in a barcoded green affidavit that includes a unique identification number that is associated only with the specific voter record. that body.
“And only one ballot can be returned per voter record,” said Richer. “So the concept that you can only pump 20,000 votes [into the system] ridiculous.”
This summer’s primaries were ultimately successful from a voting perspective, but Richer describes the process as “feeling like being punched in the face doing it, from just a few quarters… the thing.” that really makes a lot of noise and try to make it as challenging as possible. “
Some told Richer, who describes himself as a Republican “true believer“In a podcast this week, that his worldview was ‘naive’ and that he was ‘a fool’ for trusting the system. These detractors, he said, aren’t necessarily taking the facts into account and are generally meant to “cause a stir and incite,” not really furthering the democratic process.
Biden wins Arizona in 2020 with a small margin of 10,457 votes. Following the Republican-promoted Keystone Kops-esque post-mortem examination, Biden’s lead has in fact increased over Trump. The 2022 Arizona midterms are being watched closely nationally, as the GOP hopes to regain control of the Senate.
In a race, incumbent Senator Mark Kelly, a Democrat, is up against Blake Masters, Republican venture capitalist backed by Trumpwho has benefited from nearly $2 million in ad spend to date by Trump super PAC MAGA Inc. As of Wednesday, however, the FiveThirtyEight poll Kelly leads 4.5%.
In a tighter race for governor, former TV news anchor Kari Lake, an ardent Trumpist, is trailing Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, a Democrat, by 1.3 percent score, according to FiveThirtyEight.
The first incident occurred last Friday, when an “old man with a white beard with a large camera on a tripod” allegedly harassed a voter in Maricopa. The unidentified box keeper focuses the camera on the voters’ faces and license plates, then continues to monitor them as they enter their ballots, according to the complaint.
“When I got to the box, he again raised his camera and filmed me putting my ballot in the box,” the complaint reads. “I’m a senior and am terrified by his actions.”
On Saturday, another Maricopa voter said a crate keeper on a Range Rover breached a 75-foot buffer zone with the intent of vandalizing a ballot box. People “feel worried about this person,” who appeared to be taking pictures of voters turning in, one of whom responded by holding up a sign that read: “I demand your right to vote. themselves”, according to the complaint.
The third incident occurred on Sunday, when Katie Hobbs, Arizona Elections Director Kori Lorick, and a third official named in the report, received an email that read:
“If you Cunt Lickers continue to lie with the integrity of the AZ Election… .. I assure you, We The People will remove you from office… .. Also, if you own a home ……We will find you through Tax Assessors [sic] Website… Remember the French Revolution of 1799 ?? ….”
Richer himself has received considerable backlash for publicly trying to dispel Donald Trump’s “Big Lie” about the fact that his one-term presidency was gratuitously ripped from his hands. In August, one Missouri public school employee arrested and charged with sending Richer an email in which he appeared to threaten his life after calling one of Trump’s objective statements about the 2020 election “nothing to worry about.”
However, he downplayed the effects this has had on him and his family, saying the election conspiracies were “more of a burden on our good friends at office.” sheriff.” Last Friday, two armed individuals were reported to authorities for wandering around a box drop site in Maricopa, but had left the area when delegates arrived.
“The more people that are creating the problem, the more delegates you’ll see on the street focusing on this issue versus thefts and crimes against children and robberies and all those what we should do,” Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone said during Monday’s news conference, appeared alongside Richer. “But we’re going to come, and we’re going to take care of the voting sites, because people have to misbehave, if that’s what we have to do to protect democracy.”
Richer told The Daily Beast on Tuesday that Penzone is “100 percent committed to ensuring that our elections are safe and making sure that voters are safe. So he commits resources to this but I would imagine he doesn’t love that, just because he has to deal with many, many other things. “
“And this,” said Richer, “is an absurdity.”