PHOENIX — Editor's note: The above video aired in a previous broadcast.
Days away from Arizona's midterm election, the Secretary of State's Office says 18 reports of voter intimidation at ballot drop boxes have been submitted to law enforcement as of Friday.
In one claim, a voter in Mesa reported on Oct. 25 around 11 a.m. that a man in a maroon SUV was parked near the ballot box and "recording the drop box with his cell phone."
Another report from a voter said "two men were filming everyone" while dropping off ballots at the Maricopa County Recorders Office on Oct. 26.
The voter added in the claim, "It is very uncomfortable and feels intimidating."
In response to increased claims, Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone said he was increasing patrol at ballot boxes.
Earlier this week, a federal judge ordered the group Clean Elections USA not to have its associates follow voters as they drop off ballots or speak to voters unless they're spoken to first.
Earlier reports of voter intimidation:
Last month, 12News spoke with a Valley couple that claims they were victims of voter intimidation on Oct. 17 at a ballot drop box in Mesa.
The voter filled out an online form on the Secretary of State's website saying that the people took pictures and video of the couple, adding that the group accused them of "being a mule," the couple told 12News.
A spokesperson for the Secretary of State's Office said they spoke with the couple and submitted a report to the Arizona Attorney General and the Department of Justice.
Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Gates and County Recorder Stephen Richer released a joint statement that read in full:
"We are deeply concerned about the safety of individuals who are exercising their constitutional right to vote and who are lawfully taking their early ballot to a drop box. Uninformed vigilantes outside Maricopa County's drop boxes are not increasing election integrity. Instead, they are leading to voter intimidation complaints. Although monitoring and transparency in our elections is critical, voter intimidation is unlawful. For those who want to be involved in election integrity, become a poll worker or an official observer with your political party. Don't dress in body armor to intimidate voters as they are legally returning their ballots. No matter how you choose to vote in Arizona, you should feel safe doing so. We will do everything possible in our roles to protect voters, election workers, and our free and fair elections.”
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