Maricopa County election officials respond to worker harassment

Maricopa County officials say a handful of people were outside the elections office watching and recording election workers.
Published: Oct. 19, 2022 at 10:01 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Maricopa County supervisors say people are harassing staff at the elections office. The Republican chairman of the county board of supervisors Bill Gates voiced the concern with three weeks to go before the election.

“If these people really want to be involved in the process, want to learn more about it, come be a poll worker or be a poll observer,” he said. “They’re taking pictures of them. And regardless of what the intent is of these people who are taking pictures of our elections workers, they’re harassing people. They’re not helping further the interest of democracy.”

Arizona’s Family visited the Maricopa County voting tabulation center and saw three people posted outside of it. At times, they were recording. At other times, they weren’t. While a Maricopa County spokesperson didn’t confirm if these are the individuals they were referring to, they’re not the only Arizonans who plan on monitoring ballot boxes and voting locations in our state.

The conservative group, Lions of Liberty, had plans to launch an Operation Drop Box initiative involving dozens of volunteers taking shifts near ballot drop boxes in Yavapai County last week. However, the group paused after a cease and desist letter from the nonprofit Protect Democracy described their operation as voter intimidation. Today, Lions of Liberty, in an email, said they have now changed their mind.

“We’re moving forward with it, in name and slight practice,” Lions of Liberty board member Luke Cilano said. “When I’m out and about driving around, I swing by and watch a box from a distance.” Cilano says he and his fellow board members aren’t doing anything wrong and are just doing their part to make sure voting is secure.

To that, chairman Gates has this response for anyone questioning election security, including mail-in ballots. “If there are campaigns that accuse the county of not being transparent, I’m going to push back on it,” he said.