WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Tuesday, Oct. 25, the League of Women Voters of Arizona filed a lawsuit over recent voter intimidation activities in Arizona. The plaintiff alleges that the defendants — Lions of Liberty (one of the chief organizers of “Operation: Dropbox”) and several of its members, the Yavapai County Preparedness Team (“an Arizona spinoff of the extremist organization, the Oathkeepers”) and its members, Clean Elections USA (a right-wing group behind vigilante drop box monitoring in Arizona) and its founder and 10 unnamed defendants — are intimidating voters in violation of the Ku Klux Klan Act and the Voting Rights Act (VRA).
The plaintiff details instances of alleged voter intimidation in both Maricopa and Yavapai counties, including incidents where voters attempting to deposit their mail-in ballots in drop boxes were allegedly filmed or followed, leading the voters to feel “intimidated and scared” as described in their reports. The complaint also points to an Oct. 21 instance where “two armed individuals dressed in tactical gear, and who apparently were also carrying magazine clips, were onsite at a ballot box in Mesa.” The plaintiff argues that these instances are “textbook” violations of both the VRA and the Ku Klux Klan Act, which prevent intimidation of voters.
The plaintiff also outlines how this movement of vigilantes has been mobilized in the wake of conspiracy theories about the 2020 election, arguing that this “campaign of intimidation is predicated on lies. Defendants have promoted and fixated on a thoroughly debunked conspiracy theory that so-called ‘ballot mules’ illegally ‘stuffed’ ballots in drop boxes during the 2020 election.” The plaintiff further argues that, based on disinformation, the defendants “launched two parallel schemes to surveil, harass, and intimidate voters at drop boxes to deter them, and those who are lawfully assisting voters, from exercising the right to vote.”
This challenge comes after another lawsuit was filed yesterday against Clean Elections USA, its affiliates and unidentified individuals (who allegedly have been “recruited or encouraged” by Clean Elections USA to monitor drop boxes) challenging the organization’s vigilante practices. Both lawsuits were filed in the wake of several reported instances of voter intimidation in Arizona. As of today, Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs (D) has referred a total of six voter intimidation cases — all involving vigilante drop box watchers — to the Arizona attorney general and U.S. Department of Justice.