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Arizonans: It's OK to consider who's doing the intimidating while filling out a ballot

What the Devil won't tell you

Arizonans: It's OK to consider who's doing the intimidating while filling out a ballot

Law enforcement at state & federal levels vow to protect voters

  • Voter intimidation efforts haven't shown up in Tucson, police say, but law enforcement is ready if it does come down here. So go vote.
    Pima County Recorder's OfficeVoter intimidation efforts haven't shown up in Tucson, police say, but law enforcement is ready if it does come down here. So go vote.

Bad news: Supporters of former President Donald Trump have been hanging out to watch ballot drop boxes. They're armed and stupid and that's never a good combination.

Good news: Authorities are on it and by authorities, I mean the U.S. Justice Department and Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich have issued "oh-no-you-don't" statements.

The better news is that Tucson police haven't seen voter intimidation in Tucson.

However, if they do, they will respond — so go do that civic duty.

"What we can tell you is that if we do receive a call for service, we will respond and ensure that everyone is safe and has the right to vote," said TPD spokesman Sgt. Richard Gradillas.

It doesn't stop there.   

I have made something of a hobby of ripping on Brnovich. I find it goes best with a full-bodied red.

But he's not screwing around here. He's on the right side and provided a link for those who feel threatened.

“Any form of voter intimidation is absolutely unacceptable and will not be tolerated,” Brnovich said in a press release. “Regardless of intent, this type of misguided behavior is contrary to both the laws and values of our state.”

I have a feeling I'm about three months from missing him.

The U.S. Justice Department put out a lengthy statement telling voters who are victims of intimidation to call 911 for the local police and fill out a complaint here.

We do live in a free country and people are allowed to watch people in public. They aren't allowed to threaten or intimidate.

Law enforcement pledges to have y'all's back, if that happens.

So vote anyway, dammit.

Who benefits?

Now, let's you and me chat.

Maybe, just maybe, think about who these self-deputized MAGA enforcers trying to intimidate you are supporting on the ballot. Which candidates are emboldening them? Who running for office sees them as freedom fighters and you, the voter, as the threat?

Who benefits from you not voting? 

Maybe – I know, this is crazy – don't put those candidates in power.

It's just an idea, but perhaps we shouldn't give them control of the coercive powers of the state. The gun and the badge – throwing it out there – shouldn't answer to extremists who don't want to win your vote, but coerce you into voting their side or not at all.

They want authoritarianism so that you have no voice, say or vote.

Finally, when filling out a ballot, maybe ask yourself: "Why am I nervous that I don't own Kevlar as I take part in an election?"

Consider that a thought experiment.

More than jibber-jabber

This conversation illustrates something a lot of us have been saying: Democracy is under threat.

A lot of us have been saying that over and over again but voters are taking a "Yeah, but inflation" attitude toward that threat. As if that's just some jibber-jabber from the chattering class.

Ask yourself or others: What would it look like if Democracy were really under attack?

Would it look like major members of the media saying "Hh, holy crap. Democracy is under threat?" We've got that.

Would it look like members of the party doing the threatening bolting out of that party and throwing up major warnings?

I don't know, people like George W. Bush's former campaign manager, communications director and John McCain's 2008 campaign manager, a former Republican Party chairman, or Vice President Dan Quayle's former chief of staff and Iraq war backer William Kristol? Might those ranks include Lawrence Lessig, who for years was the GOP's dream Supreme Court justice? Maybe Liz Cheney, the daughter of the former vice president who did nothing but attack former President Barack Obama for eight years. Might the list of people warning America that the GOP is out of control include Dick Cheney?

They're all screaming: "Danger! Danger!"

Would it look like a violent insurrection trying to overthrow the government and the Republicans at first berating the attackers but then coddling them. 

And would it look like armed thugs trying to intimidate you from voting?

Now, imagine this: Imagine four years in the future when the U.S. Attorney General is someone like Ted Cruz, the president is Donald Trump and the attorney general is Abe Hamadeh, himself an election denier who says the free press is the biggest threat to democracy.

Might that crew see the imperative in protecting voters from the armed thugs? Might they deputize some and form of militia group and give them the authority to subject voters standing in line to armed interrogation prior to voting?

Wanna talk inflation?

I know, inflation. Maybe it's worth an authoritarian regime to tell people what's what and finally fix things, some might conclude.

Let's take a look at the two leading western dictatorships.

Viktor Orban's Hungary is experiencing 20.3 percent inflation. Recep Erdogan's Turkey is clocking inflation at 83 percent – not 8.3 percent, eighty-three percent. Russia's economy was a crispy critter before Vladimir Putin decided to invade Ukraine and invoke western civilization, except for the very people out to threaten U.S. democracy at home.

This is what happens when a country's idea of a "free market" is that all the president's buddies run the economy because authoritarians like it that way. Anyone who thinks that can't happen here needs a few hundred history lessons.

Voters in both those countries would take the U.S. inflation of 8.2 without blinking.

Now go vote. Try to make sure a couple beer bellies in tacticool gear sitting by a pickup aren't referred to as the good old days.

Blake Morlock is an award-winning columnist, who worked in daily journalism for nearly 25 years and is the former communications director for the Pima County Democratic Party. Now he’s telling you things that the Devil won’t.

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