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Yavapai sheriff: Beware fraudulent ‘election officials’ knocking on doors

By: - June 14, 2021 1:54 pm
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In this photo illustration, a pencil lies on a U.S. presidential election mail-in ballot received by a U.S. citizen living abroad that shows current U.S. Republican President Donald Trump and his main contender, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, among the choices. Thousands of U.S. citizens living abroad have received their mail-in ballots via e-mail already. Photo by Sean Gallup | Getty Images

People who are falsely claiming to be county election officials are knocking on voters’ doors in Yavapai County and asking for information about their voting history, the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office warned on Monday.

The sheriff’s office said it received reports of people, some of whom identify themselves as employees of the Yavapai County Recorder’s Office, canvassing homes and claiming they’re asking questions for a survey. The canvassers are asking people if they voted, who they voted for and who lives in their homes. When asked for identification that would prove they work for the county, the canvassers have been unable to provide it, the sheriff’s office said in a press statement.

The U.S. Department of Justice recently warned that plans to canvass voters in Maricopa County as part of a self-styled audit initiated by Senate President Karen Fann would likely constitute illegal voter intimidation under the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

Sheriff David Rhodes’s office said it’s concerned that the canvassing “may be an attempt to gain personal information for fraudulent purposes.” 

“Please be assured that the Recorder’s Office will never send anyone to a residence asking ‘survey questions,’ nor would they ask voters for personal information,” including who they voted for, the sheriff’s office said.

The reports from Yavapai County come as door-to-door canvassing related to the 2020 election has become an issue in the self-styled election audit that Fann, R-Prescott, ordered for Maricopa County. 

Fann’s plans initially called for her audit team to knock on voters’ doors to investigate “voter registrations that did not make sense” and to review peoples’ voting history in precincts “with a high number of anomalies.” The audit team planned to ask people if they voted in the 2020 general election, though they weren’t to inquire about who people voted for.

The Department of Justice warned Fann that such canvassing would likely violate the Voting Rights Act. The Senate president responded by informing the DOJ that the canvassing plans had been called off, and she told the Arizona Mirror on Friday that those plans are still on hiatus.

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Jeremy Duda
Jeremy Duda

Jeremy Duda is a Phoenix native and began his career in journalism in 2003 after graduating from the University of Arizona. Jeremy Duda previously served as the Mirror's associate Editor. Prior to joining the Arizona Mirror, he worked at the Arizona Capitol Times, where he spent eight years covering the Governor's Office and two years as editor of the Yellow Sheet Report. Before that, he wrote for the Hobbs News-Sun of Hobbs, NM, and the Daily Herald of Provo, Utah. Jeremy is also the author of the history book “If This Be Treason: the American Rogues and Rebels Who Walked the Line Between Dissent and Betrayal.”