Democrats who have become increasingly worried about possible voter intimidation at the polls say local Republicans could find themselves on the wrong side of the law, after a poll watching training led by the Maricopa County GOP. Republican activists there were told to follow and photograph voters they suspect of breaking a new Arizona law banning “ballot harvesting.”
The situation is further complicated by the fact that the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday temporarily blocked the new law that makes it a felony to collect and submit someone else’s mail-in ballot.
Walter Opaska, co-founder of the Arizona Republican Attorney Association, on Oct. 28, told a room of about 100 Republicans being trained to represent the party at polling locations what to do if they see a person bring “a bucket” of ballots into the polling place.
In a recording provided to AZCIR, Opaska urges poll watchers to report such incidents to the poll inspector, who is charged with managing the poll location, and to follow those people to their cars, photograph them, their vehicle and their license plate.
Here’s my favorite part:
“You don’t go right up to someone’s face and take a photo. You kind of do it on the sly, and ideally they don’t even know what you’re doing,” LaSota said. “If they don’t know they’re being photographed, how can they be intimidated?”
We’ll see what happens with the ballot harvesting ban and with the lawsuit against the AZ GOP in terms of these tactics.