Report: Yavapai County Has Unmonitored Ballot Drop Box Despite Arizona Attorney General Brnovich Stating Drop Boxes Violate Felony Law

State Representative Shawnna Bolick (R-Phoenix) was driving through Skull Valley in Yavapai County, Arizona, two weeks ago when she noticed an unmonitored ballot drop box in the parking lot of the U.S. Postal Service. Unmonitored ballot drop boxes have become a big concern lately due to the new Dinesh D’Souza documentary 2,000 Mules, which traced GPS cellphone locations to show that approximately 2,000 people may have illegally transferred handfuls of ballots repeatedly from left-leaning nonprofits to these drop boxes in swing states including Arizona.   

Bolick tweeted, “Why does the Skull Valley, AZ US Post Office have an unmanned drop box for mail-in ballots in its parking lot when it has a blue mailbox in front of the post office that can already receive mail-in ballots?” She told The Arizona Sun Times she has a call scheduled with the Yavapai County Recorder Leslie Hoffman to discuss them.  

Unmonitored ballot drop boxes are illegal in some states, including Arizona. A.R.S. 16-1005(E), provides, “A person or entity that knowingly solicits the collection of voted or unvoted ballots by misrepresenting itself as an election official or as an official ballot repository or is found to be serving as a ballot drop-off site, other than those established and staffed by election officials, is guilty of a class 5 felony.” 

According to Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, “entity” includes an unmonitored ballot drop box. He is currently embroiled in litigation with Democratic Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs over her refusal to make his legal changes to the state’s Election Procedures Manual. In a pleading he filed on May 6, he included a section specifically objecting to her draft language allowing county officials to establish unstaffed ballot drop boxes. He stated, “Contrary to the plain language of A.R.S. § 16-1005(E) (making it a class 5 felony for ‘person or entity’ to serve ‘as a ballot drop-off site, other than those established and staffed by election officials’ (emphasis added)), the Draft 2021 EPM permits counties to establish unstaffed drop boxes.”

He explained, “The AG struck the provisions allowing counties to establish unstaffed drop boxes, thereby requiring ballot drop boxes to be staffed (i.e. ‘within the view and monitoring of an employee or designee of the County Recorder or officer in charge of elections’).”

According to Joe Dana, a reporter with 12 News, he contacted Hoffman about the box, and she defended its legality. He tweeted that she told him, “This box is located in a very high traffic & visible area to the public, two of the criteria for the installation of ballot boxes, along w/ placement on government property, and commonly known to voters.” She did not say anything about the box being monitored, and praised the use of them. She indicated the box was locked and was not being used since there was no May election. 

The Sun Times contacted the Yavapai County Recorder’s Office and a spokesperson repeated the same explanation, concluding, “For almost 20 years, Yavapai County drop boxes have been used without incident and are an overwhelming success.” Kristin Greene, a spokesperson for the Yavapai County Sheriff, told The Sun Times no one has asked for an investigation yet, but if someone does they will take all appropriate action.

Although Brnovich found the existing law clearly prohibits ballot drop boxes, State Rep. Jake Hoffman (R-Queen Creek), who has championed election integrity, proposed legislation this session making the law even more explicit. He told The Sun Times, “Unmonitored ballot drop boxes pose one of the greatest threats to the integrity and security of Arizona elections. There should be no question that ballot drop boxes are not only impermissible under Arizona law, but a magnet for bad actors and election fraud; unfortunately, the racist Democrat Katie Hobbs is seemingly more committed to enabling the illegal trafficking of ballots than she is upholding the rule of law. I introduced House bill 2238 to make Arizona law dummy-proof and send a clear message to our election officials that you will follow the law, you will protect the sanctity of Arizonans vote, and if you undermine our elections by ignoring or flagrantly violating the law — you will be punished. It’s time to end ballot trafficking and unmonitored ballot drop boxes once and for all. 

Hoffman’s HB 2238 provides in part, “A county recorder or other officer in charge of elections may not use an unmonitored drop box for receipt of voted ballots.” It has passed the House, but has not yet come up for a vote in the Senate. 

Ballot harvesting, or collecting ballots and turning them in for someone, is also prohibited in most states (some states have narrow exceptions, such as returning ballots for immediate family members or allowing caregivers to). Brnovich is prosecuting a prominent Democratic official from San Luis for ballot abuse, as the crime is labeled in statute. The woman he is prosecuting, Guillermina Fuentes, may be the same one a whistleblower in 2,000 Mules identified. 

The Sun Times contacted Brnovich and the U.S. Postal Service for comment, but did not receive a response by the time this article went to publication. 

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Rachel Alexander is a reporter at The Arizona Sun Times and The Star News Network. Follow Rachel on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Unmonitored Ballot Drop Box” by Shawnna Bolick. 

 

 

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