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  5. Armed and masked 'ballot watchers' sat by a ballot drop box in Arizona, prompting police investigation

Armed and masked 'ballot watchers' sat by a ballot drop box in Arizona, prompting police investigation

Katie Balevic   

Armed and masked 'ballot watchers' sat by a ballot drop box in Arizona, prompting police investigation
  • Police investigated armed and masked individuals parked near a ballot drop box in Mesa, Arizona.
  • Local reporters said there were two individuals "dressed in tactical gear, fully disguised" by a drop box.

Arizona police were called to investigate armed and masked individuals parked near a ballot drop box Friday night, according to local reports.

On Friday night, deputies were "looking into several individuals watching a voter drop box in Mesa," ABC 15 Arizona reporter Nicole Grigg tweeted, adding that the individuals were "dressed in tactical gear, fully disguised" and armed.

A video shared by Grigg showed two individuals sitting in a parking lot, one perched on the tailgate of a truck while the other sat in a camp chair nearby. The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office confirmed that two individuals were armed, Grigg tweeted.

According to ABC 15's Jordan Bontke, deputies "responded" but the individuals had left the area.

"The men in tactical gear had already left but deputies measured to make sure ballot watchers weren't too close," Bontke tweeted.

A spokesperson for MCSO told Insider that deputies were dispatched to the voter ballot box at the Maricopa County Juvenile Court at about 7:45 pm on Friday night.

"Deputies responded and were able to determine that the individuals were not breaking any laws and were more than 75 feet away from the ballot box as required by law. MCSO will continue to work with our local, state and federal partners to ensure a safe and just election process for everyone," Sgt. Calbert Gillett said in an email to Insider.

The report comes days after an incident of voter harassment was reported in Mesa in which a voter said several people were "hanging out near the ballot dropbox filming and photographing my wife and I as we approached the dropbox and accusing us of being a mule," according to The Washington Post.

The voter – who said the group took pictures "of our license plate and of us and then followed us out the parking lot in one of their cars continuing to film" – reported the incident to the Arizona secretary of state's office, who referred it to the state attorney general and the US Department of Justice, per the Post.

In a statement to 12 News KPNX, a spokesperson for the Arizona attorney general's office confirmed they were reviewing the report.

"Everyone should feel safe exercising their voting rights. If someone feels threatened, please contact local law enforcement right away," the spokesperson told 12 News.


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