The same judge who last week upheld a group’s right to monitor Arizona drop boxes this week curtailed their activities.
U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona Judge Michael Liburdi Tuesday ruled Clean Elections USA members may not carry firearms closer than 250 feet of ballot drop boxes. They may not speak to or yell at individuals dropping ballots in boxes unless responding to comments from people depositing ballots. Finally, the self-appointed ballot monitors may not follow people after dropping off ballots, while in the prescribed safety zone.
The Daily Wire further reported:
The judge also mandated that the group’s founder, Melody Jennings, must correct public statements she made about ballot drop boxes, among other orders.
In addition, the judge ordered Clean Elections USA to post a statement to their social media accounts, and to Jennings’s personal Truth Social account. “It is not always illegal to deposit multiple ballots in a ballot drop box,” the statement reads. “It is legal to deposit the ballot of a family member, household member, or person for whom you are the caregiver. Here are the rules for ballot drop boxes by which I ask you to abide”: the posts must be accompanied by a copy of Arizona’s ballot drop box law, or a web link to the text of the law, along with a copy of or link to the restraining order itself.
The judge then ordered Jennings to post a separate message on her personal Truth Social account. “Any past statement that it is always illegal to deposit multiple ballots in a ballot drop box is incomplete; a family member, household member, or caregiver can legally do so.”
The restraining order will last for 14 days.
The order comes less than a week after Liburdi ruled in favor of Clean Elections USA, allowing them to keep monitoring ballot drop boxes after two liberal activists groups, the Arizona Alliance for Retired Americans and Voto Latino, sued to stop the group from monitoring the drop boxes, claiming that it was violating the Voting Rights Act and the Ku Klux Klan Act.
“Defendants have not made any statements threatening to commit acts of unlawful violence to a particular individual or group of individuals,” Liburdi wrote, citing public statements Jennings made urging volunteers to to follow the law and remain outside the mandatory 75-foot radius of the drop box, and not to interact with alleged “ballot mules” at the drop boxes. “Defendants’ conduct does not fall into any traditionally recognized category of voter intimidation,” Liburdi added.
“While there are serious questions implicated, the Court cannot provide preliminary injunctive relief without infringing core constitutional rights,” Liburdi wrote in his conclusion. However, he left the case open for future litigation, writing in his conclusion that Arizona Alliance could sue in future if they could prove that Clean Elections USA was engaging in actual voter intimidation.
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