The state Republican Party is training volunteers to look for and document illegal “ballot harvesting” after county election officials said they won’t enforce the new law. Party Chairman Robert Graham said the volunteers, who already are designated as poll watchers, will be the eyes and ears of the GOP to look for those who show up with multiple ballots. And he said they will be given a checklist — still being developed — of what to document. Graham acknowledged that other state laws limit what party-designated observers can actually do inside the polling places. Talking to voters is forbidden, as is photography. But Graham said they’re still free to follow voters out into the parking lot, ask them questions, take their pictures and photograph their vehicles and license plate. That information, he said, might give police and prosecutors the information they need to bring charges.
The tactic drew an angry reaction from Enrique Gutierrez, spokesman for the Arizona Democratic Party. “Republicans have a long history of intimidating voters,” he said. “This is just another attempt for them to intimidate more voters at the polls.”
Gutierrez acknowledged that observers cannot confront voters inside polling places. “But, at the same time, if you have poll workers following people to their cars … that’s still voter intimidation,” he said.
… The law, approved earlier this year by the Republican-controlled Legislature makes it a felony, punishable by a year in state prison, to knowingly collect blank or filled-out ballots from another person.