Ballot drop-box intimidation harms small business owners and employees in Arizona: Which states are next?
Below is a statement from the Arizona Business for Democracy collaborative concerning voter intimidation at ballot drop boxes. Arizona is one of eight states that have formed collaboratives raising the voice of small business about the need to protect democracy which is essential for a vibrant entrepreneurial economy. This is a campaign of the American Sustainability Business Network.
The Arizona Business for Democracy collaborative applauds the efforts of the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office to step up security at ballot drop boxes. We also support the lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona by the Arizona Alliance for Retired Americans and Voto Latino. These groups are requesting a “temporary restraining order against Clean Elections USA, its founder Melody Jennings, and the individuals who have been gathering at and surveilling drop boxes.”
Small business owners and their employees are denied their right to legally vote when they feel intimidated at ballot drop box sites. Small business owners are often too busy running their businesses to take time off to go to their polling places to vote on election day. Ballot drop boxes provide these entrepreneurs, their employees and other Arizona citizens the ability to fully participate in our democratic process when it is more convenient.
Small business owners also support and encourage voting by their employees. Nationwide, many small businesses even provide unpaid or paid time off to go to their polling locations to vote. However, providing time off to vote is not possible in many circumstances. The ballot drop boxes then offer another legal opportunity for these employees to exercise their right to vote.
Parties that are encouraging and recruiting “vigilantes” to stand guard at drop boxes in Arizona and other states allegedly to gather evidence of “ballot tampering” are engaging in voter intimidation.
One Arizona small business owner sums it up this way. “I am a 5’2”, 65-year-old woman. Seeing armed, masked men who are not clearly police officers ‘hanging out’ near ballot boxes simply frightens me. They are not “protecting” my vote. They make me scared to cast one. I believe that is the point.”