Secretary of State warns against vigilante poll observers on election day

Arizona Secretary of State Michele Reagan is warning not to engage in illegal conduct on election day.   Secretary of state issues warnings about behavior at polls on election day:

Seeking to avoid confrontation between voters and self-styled poll watchers, Secretary of State Michele Reagan warned Wednesday what will and will not be tolerated at polling places next week.

Some of what Reagan outlined is already law, like who can remain inside polling places and a ban on photos and videos there. And she reiterated that there is no electioneering within 75 feet.

But the key is her warnings of what is unacceptable to occur outside that 75-foot perimeter, an area where partisans can watch and even try to influence voters.

trumpintimidationHer list includes everything from demanding that prospective voters must provide credentials and erecting signs listing the penalty for voter fraud to the “aggressive or ostentatious display of weapons.”

The warning comes amid claims by Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump that the election is “rigged” and that people who are not citizens will be casting ballots.

Trump has repeatedly suggested his supporters need to personally keep an eye on what is happening at polling places. That includes statements at one rally to “check out areas because a lot of bad things happen, and we don’t want to lose for that reason.”

Reagan spokesman Matt Roberts said his boss is assuming there will not be problems. [This is the same woman who did not anticipate the problems in each of the elections she has handled during her term, earning her reputation as the queen of election day screw-ups.]

He said poll workers and marshals get training on “how to deal with unruly folks or situations that could be threatening to other voters.” The key, said Roberts, is preventing problems before they develop into something more.

“They’re always looking to calm folks down first,” he said. “Defusing situations is always Rule No. 1.”

What’s harder, he said, is balancing protecting prospective voters from harassment and honoring the First Amendment rights of those who want to stand around outside and even engage with those going into the polls. And Roberts said he cannot say exactly where that line is.

“To use an old phrase, you know it when you see it,” he said.

“Folks outside that 75 (foot line) do need to understand, in some way, that it is a free-speech area,” Roberts explained, meaning that people cannot be stopped from approaching would-be voters, asking them questions and urging them to vote a given way. “But by no means does anybody have a right to get in someone’s face.”

Then there’s that question of armed observers, an issue Roberts calls “dicey.”

Arizona law allows any adult to carry a firearm, whether open or concealed, in most public places. That includes standing around outside that 75-foot perimeter.

What observers cannot do comes down to that question of “aggressive or ostentatious display of weapons.”

“I’m not sure that there is a legal definition of ‘ostentatious,’ ” Roberts said.

“But I suspect that if you decided to bring an automatic weapon to the outside of a polling place, someone might feel intimidated by that,” he said. “And there’s other people that might not feel intimidated by that.”

He said it may come down to whether the behavior is aggressive, things like purposely showing a firearm and pointing to it, even if it remains holstered.

“And certainly pointing it at someone is altogether a legal ramification,” Robert said, running afoul of criminal statutes.

Other things Reagan said is conduct that can be considered intimidating includes:

  • Photographing or filming voters in a “harassing or intimidating manner.”
  • Impersonating law enforcement or wearing clothing, uniforms or other apparel
  • “intended to deter, intimidate or harass voters.”
  • Intentionally disseminating false information about the date, time or location of voting.
  • Using “threatening, insulting or offensive language” to a voter.
  • Disrupting voting lines.
  • Blocking the entrance.

UPDATE: Guidance on Polling Place Conduct and Preventionof Voter Intimidation and Discrimination (Scribd) – h/t Arizona’s Politics blog.

The U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division staff is available by phone to receive complaints related to voting rights (1-800-253-3931 toll free or 202-307-2767) or by TTY (202-305-0082). In addition, individuals may also report complaints, problems or concerns related to voting by fax 202-307-3961, by email to voting.section@usdoj.gov and by complaint forms that may be submitted through a link on the department’s website: https://www.justice.gov/crt/voting-section.

Complaints related to violence, threats of violence or intimidation at a polling place should always be reported immediately to local law enforcement authorities by calling 911. They should also be reported to the Department of Justice after local authorities are contacted.

14 responses to “Secretary of State warns against vigilante poll observers on election day

  1. I can hardly wait. Like the ubiquitous soccer players who fall down “hurt” trying to get the other side penalized, we will see the usual suspects paraded out claiming “it was a horror!” with all the usual histrionics and somber looking newscasters lamenting the injustice of it all. It is as predictable as the sun rising.

  2. For Sure Not Tom

    Roger Stone’s group already signed up 100 “poll watchers” in Arizona.

    People like Roger Stone have always been part of the GOP, dirty tricksters, do whatever it takes, lie, cheat, steal, but they used to hide in the shadows, now they’re on CNN.

    • “People like Roger Stone have always been part of the GOP, dirty tricksters, do whatever it takes, lie, cheat, steal, but they used to hide in the shadows…”

      Where is your Google citation, DA?

      • For Sure Not Tom

        Left it with your wife this morning.

        • My wife passed away from cancer in 2008. She wasn’t there to receive it.

          • For Sure Not Tom

            Trollboy gets trolled, cries about it.

            So sad when old people act out.

          • That is an interesting response, Not Tom. It demonstrates vividly that your politics take precedence over your basic humanity. It is also a good example of your maturity level…the old saw about when your back is against the wall, have a tantrum and attack the family holds true with you.

            “Trollboy gets trolled, cries about it. So sad when old people act out.”

            Although it was purely unintentional, it does tell me volumes about you. IT people are noted for lacking people skills, so I suspect it is difficult for you to relate to other people. That’s okay, though, because I understand and hold no ill feelings, DA. :o)

          • For Sure Not Tom

            Dude, I get paid to be around a computer screen, I can’t imagine being old, retired, and having nothing better to do than post racist troll rants on the internet when I’m your age.

            There is no such thing as a “google citation”, your original post calling me a DA was a cry for attention, like a little baby.

            “Hey, I’m Steve! Look at me! Someone pay attention to me”.

            Now I just feel bad for you.

          • “There is no such thing as a “google citation”…”

            Do you really want argue semantics, DA? If you “cite” a Google reference, it is a “Google citation”. That isn’t that hard.

            “…post racist troll rants…”

            I have noticed that when you post the word “racist” it is indicative of an attempt to extricate yourself from a discussion you have lost control of. There are two problems with it: (1) liberals (and you) have used the term racist so often and with so little legitimacy that it has lost it’s impact, and (2) you have no clue who or what I am.

            “…when I’m your age.”

            When you are my age you will most likely still be working.

            “Now I just feel bad for you.”

            No, you don’t. Nothing that could happen to me would make you feel bad, DA. That is one of the beautiful things about the internet for IT people. You don’t have to have people skills and you don’t have to connect with the other person as a human being.

            “…I get paid to be around a computer screen…”

            I realize that, but I don’t hold it against you. We NEED IT people and they are as handy as the pocket on a shirt to have around. You are #1 in my opinion, DA!

          • For Sure Not Tom

            There’s no such thing as a google reference, either, google, like you, is a tool. Some people use that tool to verify claims made by whiny little Trollboys.

            You can mock my current occupation all you want, but it’s where all the money is these days.

            The telling thing about you is this, in a discussion about a Trump server connecting with a Russian server, an IT professional, with experience in the actual country of Russia, tells you something that you, with your vast experience in tech, dismiss.

            Please don’t do the same thing with your doctor/lawyer/accountant/therapist, trust the experts.

            And I read a few of your other recent posts, you are racist.

            We should probably stop polluting AZBlueMeanies blog with this stuff, I’ll meet you at the Circle-K in ten minutes. I suspect in real life you’ll find your manners real fast.

          • “I’ll meet you at the Circle-K in ten minutes. I suspect in real life you’ll find your manners real fast.”

            This is funny on so-o-o-o many levels I am a little befuddled to know where to start. First of all, you are fortunate I am enough of a grownup NOT to take you up on such a childish taunt. I spent 32 years in Special Operations in the Army, the first part as an Airborne Ranger in Vietnam and the second part in various specialized operations units that I won’t name. I spent a year as the Officer in Charge of the Close Combat Training Course at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. You don’t get there unless you earn the right to be there. I also cross trained for 9 months with the SEALS in Coronado, partly specializing in close combat. I spent 18 months training with the Israeli Army Special Forces and was certified “highly competent” (read: “expert”) in their Krav Maga training. On multiple occasions, I have used my skills in actual hostile close combat where only one of us walked away and I am still here. I came away from all of that with a confidence that allows me to ignore childish taunts from people who don’t know better than to offer a challenge to someone they don’t know. All that is left to say about this is “You are very welcome” for ignoring your dumb ass suggestion.

            “There’s no such thing as a google reference…”

            I understand that you don’t understand. Let me try a different tack…what do you call it when you add a Google link to your postings? What are you doing when you add a Google link to your postings? You can’t answer either of those questions without using a word that means you are “referring” to that website, either as backup for what you said, or to provide more information to the reader. You can call it a “tool” if you like, of course, but you are really reaching too hard to try to make your argument work. Cut through the imaginary BS, and you are still wrong.

            “…an IT professional, with experience in the actual country of Russia, tells you something that you, with your vast experience in tech, dismiss.”

            What I dismissed was not your professional experience, but your assumption that it amounted to an act of war. My opinion was that it was more likely financial information going back and forth rather than national security data, which you assumed was the case. Since then, however, AzBM wrote an interesting article about the FBI investigating the possibility that Trump may have been turned by Russian operatives. He made a reasonable, albeit nebulous, case. Now my opinion is that maybe it is something more.

            My personal opinion of you and your job – and I mean this seriously and honestly – is that you are probably near the top of your field, are sharp as a razor, and are a real asset to have on Staff. I base that on the overall impression I have gotten in reading what you have written. Normally, only the best people would get a job working with a foreign government, especially the Chinese and Russians who are very hard to work with because they are always spying on you, trying to get more than they paid for. They are very good at it, so I think you are probably an expert at what you do.

            I tease about IT people because they are noted for being hard to work with. Saturday Night Live used to have a character skit named “The IT Guy”. The guy was so obnoxious, condescending and hard to work with it was funny as heck. Most IT people are technocrats and they do have problems interacting with non-technical people.

          • For Sure Not Tom

            Ah, getting to know the local Trollboy.

            I have a contractor’s license in California, it’s mine for life, if I ever want to start another business. I spent 20 years in the trades, first swinging hammers, then managing construction companies, and then running my own. I got into IT late in life.

            It was a big adjustment going from managing guys with hammers who took too many steroids to managing…delicate corporate people.

            Point being you don’t know me, either.

            We hire special ops guys to do security at some of the datacenters I’ve managed. Mostly because it’s good security theater to have them patrolling in black humvees, all in black, sporting BFGs, and partly because terrorist attacks are a concern for financial institutions.

            Hey, maybe you trained some guys I know. Small world.

            I got into IT just before turning 40, I’m not the guy you call when you can’t print, but I get the stereotype. It fits about 10% of the people that work for me.

            Sunday I’ll be watching NASCAR, not Star Wars.

            I would never fight you in the Circle-K parking lot, either, because it’s stupid, but I wanted to make the point that this is not the real world, before the internet exchanges like we’re having never happened.

            When did what you do, and how I replied, become a thing that is okay? I’ll guarantee if you knew me you would never speak to me like you have, and vice versa.

            I’m going on PTO, I don’t log in on vacation, so I won’t be trolling the trolls for a while, enjoy the nice weather.

            If you get bored, learn to use a search engine, you can look up some of that crazy stuff you read in your email and see if it’s true.

          • Okay, maybe I was wrong. Have a nice vacation…

  3. I have absolutely zero confidence in Michele Reagan defending the rights of anyone who wants to vote for anyone other than a Conservative. She is fine defending the rights of the forced pregnancy groups or the “Christians-only” groups. She is the last person I would go to for help.