On Wednesday, CNN's Donie O'Sullivan talked to Arizona voters about the right-wing vigilante groups patrolling ballot drop boxes — and found outrage and resentment over the efforts to intimidate voters.
"I covered my plates because they're taking pictures," said one voter, identified as Gerald. "This is what we've come to in America. They call themselves patriots. Really? The guy standing over there has his face covered and he's armed. What's that tell you? They don't want you to vote."
The group running most of the ballot box watching is called Clean Elections USA — and their founder, Melody Jennings, cites a debunked conspiracy theory film "2,000 Mules" as the motivation for monitoring voters.
"The effects of election conspiracy theories already on full display here in the swing state of Arizona," said O'Sullivan. "Armed men stalking voter drop boxes and people covering identities as they go to vote," said O'Sullivan. "Central to all of this is the movie '2,000 Mules.' Trump even hosted a screening of it at Mar-a-Lago. The movie falsely claims that so-called mules are casting hundreds or thousands of votes at drop boxes ... the people we're seeing are not mules, they are real voters who are now afraid."
"I could never come down here alone. I couldn't do it myself," said another voter, identified as Kelly Wilson. Her companion agreed: "It's just flat-out insane. It's voter intimidation."
"If you talk to people who don't believe the election was fair in 2020, nine times out of ten one of the first things they're going to bring up is '2,000 Mules,'" said O'Sullivan — but, he noted, even some Republicans are now pushing back, including Gerald.
"I'm an American first," he told O'Sullivan. "It's funny. I voted a lot of times. I'm in my 60s and this is the first time an election has ever been 'stolen'. Come on."
Last week, a federal judge appointed by Trump, who used to work for the sitting Republican Gov. Doug Ducey, rejected a lawsuit to stop the vigilante poll watchers, arguing that the activity was protected by the First Amendment. However, on Tuesday, this same judge ruled in favor of a separate lawsuit brought by the League of Women Voters to block the poll watchers, saying he found the evidence in this suit "much stronger" and he has now "heard evidence that we did not hear last week ... of individuals being harassed and intimidated."
The Justice Department has also issued a statement siding with the lawsuits against armed poll watchers.
Watch the video below or at this link.
'Flat-out insane': Arizona voters fume at pro-Trump drop box vigilantes www.youtube.com