Other Group

Clean Elections USA

Founder:

Melody Jennings

Founded:

2022

Clean Elections USA is a right-leaning advocacy group that monitored ballot drop boxes during the 2022 election cycle. [1] A federal judge in Arizona imposed a restraining order on the organization days before the 2022 election. [2]

The organization was founded by Melody Jennings, who has alleged the 2020 election result was fraudulent and has collaborated with True the Vote. [3]

Background

Clean Elections USA is a conservative advocacy group that monitored ballot drop boxes during the 2022 election cycle. [4] The organization posted material to its website entitled “10 plus ways the election was rigged in Maricopa County.” [5]

Nationally, more than 4,500 people signed up across 18 states to help monitor drop boxes as part of the Clean Elections USA drive. The group shared photos, information, and videos with True the Vote. [6]

Clean Elections USA has published material claiming that the group will work to “deter people from committing voter fraud,” and that “the only way we can do this is to monitor…drop box locations with a team of volunteers.” Clean Elections USA pushed on Truth Social for supporters of former President Donald Trump to create “ballot tailgate parties” to monitor drop boxes for suspected ballot trafficking. [7]

Melody Jennings

Melody Jennings of Oklahoma started Clean Elections USA. She said her decision to investigate Arizona drop boxes was inspired by a trailer she saw on Truth Social for the documentary film 2000 Mules. [8]

Jennings has rejected the legitimacy of the 2020 elections, having previously said “we now know that the level of fraud in 2020 was unprecedented and determinative, meaning Joe Biden is now NOT our duly elected representative and neither is Kamala Harris,” and that “we do not have free and fair elections in the US.” [9]

Jennings has denied engaging in illegal voter intimidation and said, “All activities supported by Clean Elections USA are lawful and designed to support lawful elections.” [10] Jennings has also written that “Anyone who does not follow the law at a drop box site is instantly disassociated with Clean Elections USA.” [11]

Litigation

The Arizona Citizens Clean Elections Commission, a state government agency, sued in Maricopa County Superior Court to stop Clean Elections USA from using its name, alleging it confused voters and undermined the credibility of the state agency. [12]

The Arizona chapter of the labor-union-aligned Alliance for Retired Americans and the left-leaning Voto Latino sued Clean Elections USA, asserting the group engaged in voter intimidation. [13] In a separate case, the League of Women Voters of Arizona sued Clean Elections USA, claiming the group intimidated voters. The U.S. Department of Justice supported the lawsuit, claiming in a brief that private “ballot security forces” could violate the federal Voting Rights Act. [14]

U.S. District Judge Michael Liburdi, an appointee of former President Donald Trump, issued a temporary restraining order against Clean Elections USA that barred them from taking videos and photos of voters and banned them from openly carrying guns and wearing tactical gear within 250 feet of ballot drop boxes. [15] [16]

Even before the restraining order, the group announced its volunteers would no longer openly carry guns or wear tactical gear. [17] The judge also banned Clean Elections USA monitors from speaking to or yelling at voters at drop boxes. [18]

References

  1. Hahne, Greg. “Citizens Clean Elections Commission asks for restraining order vs. Clean Elections USA.” KJZZ. November 4, 2022. Accessed November 11, 2022. https://kjzz.org/content/1822627/citizens-clean-elections-commission-asks-restraining-order-vs-clean-elections-usa ^
  2. Stone, Peter. “US far-right group sparks legal firestorm over drive to monitor drop-box voting.” The Guardian. November 6, 2022. Accessed November 11, 2022. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/nov/06/us-far-right-groups-drop-box-voting-legal-issues ^
  3. Stone, Peter. “US far-right group sparks legal firestorm over drive to monitor drop-box voting.” The Guardian. November 6, 2022. Accessed November 11, 2022. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/nov/06/us-far-right-groups-drop-box-voting-legal-issues ^
  4. Hahne, Greg. “Citizens Clean Elections Commission asks for restraining order vs. Clean Elections USA.” KJZZ. November 4, 2022. Accessed November 11, 2022. https://kjzz.org/content/1822627/citizens-clean-elections-commission-asks-restraining-order-vs-clean-elections-usa ^
  5. Hahne, Greg. “Citizens Clean Elections Commission asks for restraining order vs. Clean Elections USA.” KJZZ. November 4, 2022. Accessed November 11, 2022. https://kjzz.org/content/1822627/citizens-clean-elections-commission-asks-restraining-order-vs-clean-elections-usa ^
  6. Stone, Peter. “US far-right group sparks legal firestorm over drive to monitor drop-box voting.” The Guardian. November 6, 2022. Accessed November 11, 2022. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/nov/06/us-far-right-groups-drop-box-voting-legal-issues ^
  7.  Collins, Ben and Hillyard, Vaughn. “How ‘mule watchers’ evolved from a Truth Social meme into a ballot drop box patrol.” NBC News. October 28, 2022. Accessed November 11, 2022. https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/internet/mule-watchers-evolved-truth-social-meme-ballot-drop-box-patrol-rcna54406 ^
  8. Stone, Peter. “US far-right group sparks legal firestorm over drive to monitor drop-box voting.” The Guardian. November 6, 2022. Accessed November 11, 2022. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/nov/06/us-far-right-groups-drop-box-voting-legal-issues ^
  9. Stone, Peter. “US far-right group sparks legal firestorm over drive to monitor drop-box voting.” The Guardian. November 6, 2022. Accessed November 11, 2022. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/nov/06/us-far-right-groups-drop-box-voting-legal-issues ^
  10. Stone, Peter. “US far-right group sparks legal firestorm over drive to monitor drop-box voting.” The Guardian. November 6, 2022. Accessed November 11, 2022. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/nov/06/us-far-right-groups-drop-box-voting-legal-issues ^
  11. Collins, Ben and Hillyard, Vaughn. “How ‘mule watchers’ evolved from a Truth Social meme into a ballot drop box patrol.” NBC News. October 28, 2022. Accessed November 11, 2022. https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/internet/mule-watchers-evolved-truth-social-meme-ballot-drop-box-patrol-rcna54406 ^
  12. Hahne, Greg. “Citizens Clean Elections Commission asks for restraining order vs. Clean Elections USA.” KJZZ. November 4, 2022. Accessed November 11, 2022. https://kjzz.org/content/1822627/citizens-clean-elections-commission-asks-restraining-order-vs-clean-elections-usa ^
  13. Associated Press. “Federal judge limits ballot drop box monitoring in Arizona for two weeks.” CBS News. November 2, 2022. Accessed November 11, 2022. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/arizona-ballot-drop-box-monitoring-limited-federal-judge-two-weeks/ ^
  14. [1] Stone, Peter. “US far-right group sparks legal firestorm over drive to monitor drop-box voting.” The Guardian. November 6, 2022. Accessed November 11, 2022. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/nov/06/us-far-right-groups-drop-box-voting-legal-issues ^
  15. Stone, Peter. “US far-right group sparks legal firestorm over drive to monitor drop-box voting.” The Guardian. November 6, 2022. Accessed November 11, 2022. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/nov/06/us-far-right-groups-drop-box-voting-legal-issues ^
  16. Cohen, Marshall. “Judge restricts how right-wing group can patrol Arizona drop boxes.” CNN. November 1, 2022. Accessed November 11, 2022. https://www.cnn.com/2022/11/01/politics/arizona-voter-intimidation-ballot-drop-boxes/index.html ^
  17. Stone, Peter. “US far-right group sparks legal firestorm over drive to monitor drop-box voting.” The Guardian. November 6, 2022. Accessed November 11, 2022. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/nov/06/us-far-right-groups-drop-box-voting-legal-issues ^
  18. Cohen, Marshall. “Judge restricts how right-wing group can patrol Arizona drop boxes.” CNN. November 1, 2022. Accessed November 11, 2022. https://www.cnn.com/2022/11/01/politics/arizona-voter-intimidation-ballot-drop-boxes/index.html ^
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