PHOENIX — A federal judge Friday refused to bar a group from monitoring outdoor ballot boxes in Arizona’s largest county, saying that to do so could violate the its constitutional rights.
U.S. District Court Judge (Trump) Michael Liburdi issued the ruling Friday. Local and federal law enforcement have been alarmed by reports of people watching outdoor 24-hour ballot boxes in Maricopa County — Arizona’s most populous county — and rural Yavapai County as midterm elections near.
In a defeat for advocacy groups raising the alarm about “vigilantes” in Arizona, a federal judge on Friday refused to issue a temporary restraining order blocking people from recording voters or gathering near drop boxes in the Grand Canyon State.
“While there are serious questions implicated, the Court cannot provide preliminary injunctive relief without infringing core constitutional rights,” wrote U.S. District Judge Michael T. Liburdi, a Donald Trump appointee.
“Further, while the irreparable harm factor tips in favor of Plaintiffs, the balance of the equities and public interest do not,” Liburdi continued. “A preliminary injunction cannot issue on these facts, but Arizona Alliance is invited to return to this Court with any new evidence that Defendants have engaged in unlawful voter intimidation.”
The plaintiffs have already appealed this decision to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.