Arizona Secretary of State’s office refers voter intimidation complaint to Justice Department

The secretary of state’s office spoke to the voter, informed Maricopa County, and referred the report to the DOJ and Arizona attorney general for investigation.
Published: Oct. 20, 2022 at 12:16 PM MST|Updated: Oct. 20, 2022 at 5:31 PM MST
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(CNN) -- The Arizona secretary of state’s office has referred to the U.S. Department of Justice and Arizona attorney general’s office a report of voter intimidation, Murphy Hebert, spokeswoman for the secretary of state’s office, confirmed to CNN on Wednesday.

The unidentified voter reports that they were approached and followed by a group of individuals when the voter was trying to drop off their ballot at an early voting drop box on Monday, according to Hebert.

The location was at the Juvenile Justice Court drop box in Mesa, within Maricopa County. The secretary of state’s office talked to the voter, informed Maricopa County, and referred the report to the DOJ and Arizona attorney general for further investigation.

Secretary of State Katie Hobbs says this is the only complaint her office has recieved so far. She has heard of watch parties, where people sit around and monitor ballot boxes. “Our office takes these kinds of concerns incredibly Seriously. Voter intimidation is illegal. Every single voter has the right to cast a ballot free from intimidation,” Hobbs said.

Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer held a news conference earlier this week and told reporters that people had been recording voters dropping off their ballots at the Mesa drop box. But this new complaint is an escalation from those initial reports.

Sec. Hobbs says if you feel unsafe voting early, you can bring your ballot to another location. You can also call law enforcement if you feel threatened. “We take the safety of voters very seriously we take these kinds of complaints very seriously and we want folks who are engaging in this type of activity to know it’s not going to be tolerated here in the state of Arizona,” she said.

CNN has reached out to the Justice Department for comment.

Arizona Republican gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake, who has embraced the politics of former President Donald Trump’s election lies and has not committed to accepting the results of her own race if she loses, said on Wednesday that she hadn’t “heard anything about” the report, but immediately seized on it to promote a central plank of her campaign.

“I haven’t heard anything about it. It just shows you how concerned people are, though. People are so concerned about the integrity of our election, and this is another reason, Kate, this is another reason we have to restore integrity,” she told CNN’s Kate Sullivan at a campaign event in Scottsdale. Lake continued, “We can’t have half of the population or more doubting our elections. It’s not impossible to restore honesty and integrity to our elections. And I assure you, when I’m governor, we will do that.”