In Arizona, justice limits the presence of armed citizens at polling places

In Arizona, justice limits the presence of armed citizens at the scene of vote


Armed citizens guarding certain polling places in Arizona, accused by several associations of carrying out a “campaign of intimidation” of voters, are no longer allowed to approach within 75 meters polls before the midterm elections, according to a decision of the American justice. 

People currently stationed daily in front of certain metal ballot boxes where Americans can cast their ballots in advance are temporarily “prohibited from (…) carrying firearms within 250 feet” around the boxes, or 76 meters, and from “wearing a body armor” within the same perimeter, according to a federal judge's ruling Tuesday.

They are also prohibited from approaching even unarmed within 75 feet (23 meters) ballot boxes, to follow voters and talk to them, unless they speak to them first.

Voting for the midterm elections began ten days ago in Arizona, a state in the American Southwest where Joe Biden outstripped Donald Trump by barely 10,000 votes in 2020, in a very tense, gangrenous climate. by suspicion fueled by conspiracy theories.

Several unnamed citizens, some of whom carry firearms — which is legal in Arizona — park near ballot boxes and film voters coming to vote before the vote on November 8.

In Mesa, on the outskirts of the state capital Phoenix, the sheriff had to intervene to evacuate two armed men in paramilitary uniform.

Several associations have filed a complaint denouncing a “campaign of intimidation” by voters, coordinated by a group of self-proclaimed “patriots,” “Clean Elections USA,” they say. its founder Melody Jennings has falsely claimed that voters can only give power of attorney to their spouse in Arizona.

Since the 2020 presidential election, several far-right groups have spread conspiracy theories that some ballot boxes had been stuffed with fake ballots in the United States. And this despite the various surveys and recounts that have demonstrated the validity of the results.

In Arizona, the three Republican candidates for the posts of governor, senator and secretary of state — a senior official in charge of the electoral process — still vigorously contesting the 2020 results.