The Arizona Secretary of State’s office has received at least three complaints of people being harassed by armed “vigilantes” monitoring ballot drop box locations in the cities of Mesa and Phoenix. All three complaints have been forwarded to the Department of Justice for possible investigation.
“[A group of 8 to 10 people were] filming and photographing my wife and I as we approached the drop box and accusing us of being a mule,” a male complainant told the office. A “mule” is — according to far-right conspiracy theorists — a person who collects and returns completed mail-in ballots en masse.
“They took photographs of our license plate and of us and followed us out of the parking lot,” the man added.
Another incident involved two armed individuals sitting in lawn chairs monitoring a drop-box in Maricopa County. These individuals reportedly left the location after local law enforcement intervened.
I’m told they have magazine clips, dressed in tactical gear, fully disguised. @Garrett_Archer
— Nicole Grigg (@NicoleSGrigg) October 22, 2022
Alternately, there have been reports of people carrying cameras, megaphones, and weapons near voter boxes as well as reports of people with cameras pointed at ballot boxes in the state.
NEW: several people have been sitting outside the Maricopa County elections headquarters in Arizona outside 1 of 2 ballot drop boxes.
They have their own cameras rolling, pointed right at the drop box.
— Nicole Grigg (@NicoleSGrigg) October 20, 2022
The existence of these vigilantes makes sense considering that Arizona became a flashpoint for unproven, right-wing voter fraud conspiracies following now-President Joe Biden’s 2020 Election Night victory in the state. State counties have had their votes recounted and audited with no evidence of fraud.
However, the state’s Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake has repeatedly claimed that there was fraud. She has refused to say whether she will accept the midterm election results if she loses, much like former-President Donald Trump refused to do during the 2020 elections.
“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,” Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Gates and Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer in a joint statement. “Uninformed vigilantes outside Maricopa County’s drop boxes are not increasing election integrity. Instead, they are leading to voter intimidation complaints.”
“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,” the statement continued.
This evening's Mesa drop box watchers covered up their license plate. pic.twitter.com/E2Misbe40l
— The AZ – abc15 – Data Guru (@Garrett_Archer) October 23, 2022
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Mike Lindell discourages Republicans from early voting so they can “overrun the algorithms”
Mike Lindell, the far-right extremist and conspiracy theorist who is also CEO of My Pillow, is continuing his inexplicable battle against Democracy and voting machines by telling fellow Republicans not to vote early in the upcoming midterm elections.
Lindell made his comments while speaking to Steve Bannon, former advisor to ex-President Donald Trump, on Bannon’s broadcast on the right-wing media outlet Real America’s Voice. Bannon asked Lindell what Republicans could do to ensure that they win the midterm elections and that the elections aren’t “stolen” from them. Both Bannon and Lindell have repeatedly pushed Trump’s baseless claims that the 2020 election was “stolen” through an unprecedented, nationwide voter fraud conspiracy that hasn’t been proved in any courts or publicly exposed in the media.
“Well, the number one thing that everyone should do is vote day of,” Lindell said, adding that voters can defy “lying” pollsters by voting only on Election Day. “We can overrun the algorithms. Everybody has to get out and vote — everybody you know — and same day. Don’t vote two days early, don’t vote one day early, vote same day.”
“It’s a lot harder for them when they don’t have days to pull names from the voter rolls with these machines and computers that are done the same day,” he continued. “And know, if we all get out and vote and overrun the algorithms, and even the ones we don’t, we are watching this time. We are watching everything.”
It’s not entirely clear what Lindell is talking about, though it seems he believes that computer algorithms use early voting counts to help decide which votes to throw out, even though voting machines don’t actually make such determinations.
Since the 2020 presidential elections, Lindell, a longtime supporter of Trump, has used his public platform to accuse various election officials of wrongdoing. He now faces a $1.3 billion defamation lawsuit from Dominion Voting Systems for his repeated claims that their machinery played a role in “stealing” the 2020 election from Trump. He also held a televised 3-day-long cyber symposium last year that he said would prove fraud occurred in the 2020 presidential elections — it didn’t.
Steve Bannon, Bannon co-founded the right-wing news site Breitbart and was chief executive officer of Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. He also served as White House chief strategist and senior counselor to the president from January 2017 until August 18, 2017, when Trump fired him.
In August 2020, Bannon was indicted by a federal grand jury, accused of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and money laundering connected to the “We Build the Wall” campaign, a $25 million GoFundMe crowdfunding, which claimed to be raising money to help Trump construct a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico.
Mike Lindell, who has continually called for abolishing voting machines, is now telling people to only vote on election day and claimed it’s possible to “overrun the algorithms.” pic.twitter.com/Mb55xf5X8b
— PatriotTakes 🇺🇸 (@patriottakes) September 29, 2022
Trump Gave Blessing to Gaetz and Greene’s Flailing Tour That Slams Christie, Haley and Other ‘Half-Trumpers’: Report
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) said he and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) have the blessing of former president Donald Trump to raise money off baseless claims about the 2020 election.
The Florida Republican has held a series of rallies with Greene to help build support for a Trump presidential bid in 2024, and the twice-impeached one-term president has spoken to the pair about their efforts and given his support, reported Business Insider.
“Our thinking is we’re kind of the advance team for Trump if any of these, you know, Chris Christie, Nikki Haley kind of like half-Trumpers or never-Trumpers try to run,” Gaetz told Vanity Fair. “I’ve talked to the president about it. Marjorie has talked to the president about it, and he likes the idea of having the energetic characters in our party out there in the early-primary states keeping the band in tune, if you will.”
The lawmakers have been attacking Trump’s critics and spreading lies about President Joe Biden’s election win, although the campaign is deeply underwater — with expenses soaring to $287,000 compared to fundraising proceeds of just $59,000.
“The Marjorie-and-Matt tour — other than the Trump rallies — is the big thing going on at our party,” Gaetz insisted. “It is this interesting reflection of MAGA that the more they cancel and smear and deplatform and all that, the stronger we get out on the road.”
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