https://www.theepochtimes.com/concerns-over-election-security-run-high-ahead-of-arizona-midterms_4840077.html

PHOENIX, Ariz.—Maricopa County election officials said voter security would be a high priority on Election Day, and law enforcement is ready to deal with any reports of intimidation.

“If there is anyone out there who intends to disrupt this election over the next six days, that is going to be responded to very strongly,” said Bill Gates, chairman of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, at a press conference in Phoenix on Nov. 2.

Gates said the county would “push back” against social media influencers and narratives claiming that the county should have all ballots counted by the end of Nov. 8.

“This is a false narrative—and it’s a dangerous narrative. We’re going to continue to push back against it. No state or voting jurisdiction gets the voting done in this country on election day. It’s simply false,” he said.

“It is a blatantly false statement that, unfortunately, I think we will keep hearing. That’s why we’ll keep pushing back on it and talk the truth.”

Gates said the “only reason” voter intimidation is a “big issue” is that the key races in the election are so close.

On Nov. 1, a federal judge in Arizona granted a temporary restraining order against Clean Elections USA, accused of voter intimidation at ballot drop boxes across Maricopa County, the state’s most populous county.

The restraining order prohibits members of Clean Elections USA, a grassroots organization promoting election integrity, and its associates from coming within 75 feet of a ballot drop box or a building housing a drop box.

They also are banned from speaking or yelling at voters within 75 feet of a drop box unless yelled at first.

The ruling also bars Clean Elections USA members and its affiliates from openly carrying firearms or wearing tactical gear, such as body armor, within 250 feet of ballot drop boxes.

“The focus should be on letting the candidates make their closing argument over the next few days to try to encourage those who haven’t voted yet,” Gates said.

Since the judge’s ruling, there has been a noticeable “downtick in the number of people” hanging around or near ballot drop boxes, he said.

“I think that’s a positive thing.”

Early Voting Brisk

As of Nov. 2, the county recorder’s office had logged 821,622 early ballots received, with more than 516,000 ready for processing. The last day of early voting is Friday, Nov. 4.

County officials expect to receive between 1.4 million and 1.9 million ballots in the midterm election, although ballot counting would likely continue on Nov. 9 and possibly beyond.

Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer said there would be 223 voting centers throughout Maricopa County on election day, including 13 ballot drop boxes. He said his office mailed out approximately 2 million requests for early voting ballots from registered voters.

Given “heightened emotions,” the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office has mobilized a “small army,” and county officials feel “very well prepared” for any potential disruptions on election day, Richer said.

Maricopa County director of elections Scott Jarrett said between 2,000 and 3,000 voters cast early ballots daily, representing a good cross-section of the county.

Of the 821,622 early ballots cast, 307,000 were from registered Republicans, 310,000 Democrats, and 4,000 libertarians.

Jarrett said voting in person should be brisk on election day, with potential lines forming.

The county set up 400 additional check-in stations to handle the volume and over 5,000 voting booths set up for all 223 voting centers to handle the volume.

Of the approximately 2,000 election workers, 926 are Republican, 931 are Democrat, and 420 are independent or unaffiliated, according to election officials.

“It’s the wish of everyone here and in the county to vote free of intimidation, free of obstruction,” Richer said.

“Of course, we’ve taken steps to make sure that happens—whether it’s 223 voting locations or the multitude of places where you can deposit your ballot, even right now.”

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Allan Stein is an Epoch Times reporter who covers the state of Arizona.

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