Nov 4, 2016 10:40 PM

The Latest: Arizona US judge denies voter harassment order

The Associated Press

CLEVELAND (AP) — The Latest on legal arguments over allegations Republican volunteers are engaging in voter intimidation in the guise of preventing voter fraud (all times local):

7:30 p.m.

A federal judge in Phoenix is refusing to issue an injunction sought by Democrats that would have ordered Republicans not to engage in illegal voter intimidation tactics at the polls next week.

U.S. District Judge John Tuchi's Friday evening ruling says the state Democratic Party hadn't shown evidence that the Republicans were conspiring to conduct illegal voter intimidation. He says he's willing to revisit the issue if evidence of voter intimidation appears.

The suit named the Arizona Republican Party, Donald Trump's presidential campaign, a Republican political operative and his group. The Democrats alleged that Trump supporter Roger Stone and his group "Stop the Steal" planned to harass Arizona voters, mainly in minority communities. They said Donald Trump has encouraged the activity and the state GOP has gone along.

All denied doing that. Arizona Republican Party Chairman Robert Graham testified at a hearing Thursday that the party specifically trains its poll watchers not to harass or intimidate voters. Stone's attorney said he's engaging in protected free speech.

The case is one of several filed in battleground states. A federal judge in Ohio issued an injunction Friday against Trump's presidential campaign and a GOP operative concerning voter intimidation. Another federal judge in Nevada ruled that the Nevada Republican Party and the Trump campaign aren't training people to intimidate voters there. That judge kept open a case against Stone and his group pending a Monday hearing.

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6:10 p.m.

A federal judge in Las Vegas says he'll hold a hearing Monday before deciding whether to restrict Election Day exit polling by Republican political operative Roger Stone's "Stop the Steal" group.

A lawyer for Stone said he only recently got legal notice about a lawsuit alleging that Stone is encouraging what Nevada Democrats call "vigilante voter intimidation."

U.S. District Judge Richard Boulware says he's also keeping time open for a Tuesday hearing, in case allegations of voter intimidation come up during morning voting.

The judge on Friday made official his finding that the Nevada Republican Party and the Donald Trump campaign aren't training people to intimidate voters in Nevada.

That's after Nevada's top Trump election day operations chief testified Thursday that he went back and notified everyone he's trained as poll-watchers about state laws they have to follow if they challenge a voter's eligibility.

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5 p.m.

A written order from a federal judge in Ohio seeks to prevent Republican Donald Trump's presidential campaign and others from taking part in certain activity that could intimidate voters.

U.S. District Judge James Gwin in Cleveland ruled Friday that anyone who engages in intimidation or harassment inside or near polling places, regardless of political alliance, would face contempt of court charges.

Gwin's decision to grant a temporary restraining order follows a complaint filed by the Ohio Democratic Party against Trump's campaign and Republican political operative Roger Stone.

Gwin dismissed the Ohio Republican Party as a defendant in the case.

The judge's written order blocks activities from both campaigns that include unauthorized poll watching, the admonishing or questioning of voters, and taking photos or recording voters inside or near polling places.

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4 p.m.

The chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party is praising a federal judge's order against Republican Donald Trump's presidential campaign and a GOP operative aimed at preventing voter intimidation in the swing state.

Democratic chairman David Pepper said in statement that Friday's decision was "a big win for Ohio voters."

U.S. District Judge James Gwin in Cleveland issued a temporary restraining order against Trump's campaign and Republican political operative Roger Stone. The judge ruled that anyone who engages in intimidation or harassment inside or near polling places, regardless of political alliance, would face contempt of court charges.

The judge dismissed the Ohio Republican Party as a defendant in the complaint, which was filed by Ohio Democrats on Sunday.

Democratic Party organizations in Nevada, Arizona, Michigan and Pennsylvania have filed similar lawsuits.

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3:40 p.m.

The Michigan Democratic Party is asking a judge to order the state Republican Party not to intimidate voters on Election Day.

Democrats filed a lawsuit Friday in Detroit federal court, seeking an injunction against Republicans, Donald Trump's presidential campaign and GOP allies. The court filing lists no specific allegations in Michigan, but Democrats say voters are at risk for "intimidation, threats and perhaps even force" on Tuesday.

In response, Republican spokeswoman Sarah Anderson says the lawsuit is "insulting and shameful." She calls it a "desperate act" by supporters of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

Similar lawsuits have been filed in other states, including Ohio, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

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2:10 p.m.

A judge in Cleveland has issued a temporary restraining order against Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's campaign and a Republican political operative from harassing or intimidating Ohio voters.

U.S. District Judge James Gwin ruled Friday in a lawsuit filed by the Ohio Democratic Party that anyone who engages in intimidation or harassment inside or near Ohio polling places would face contempt of court charges. Gwin dismissed the Ohio Republican Party as a defendant in the case.

The lawsuit claimed the Ohio GOP, the Trump campaign, operative Roger Stone and his political action committee Stop the Steal were conspiring to suppress minorities in urban areas from casting ballots on Tuesday.

The lawsuit cited comments made by Trump and his surrogates about voter fraud and efforts by Democrats to steal the election.

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10:30 a.m.

Attorneys representing the Democratic and Republican parties are arguing before a federal judge over allegations Republicans are coordinating with Donald Trump to suppress or intimidate minority voters.

The legal challenge is one of several around the country filed by Democrats claiming Republicans and the Trump campaign are pushing supporters to intimidate and confront voters on Election Day.

An attorney representing Democrats told the judge in Newark on Friday that Trump has "repeatedly encouraged his supporters to engage in vigilante efforts" in the guise of ferreting out potential voter fraud. The attorney says that the Republican National Committee is participating.

An attorney for Republicans told the judge party volunteers are engaging in normal poll-watching, and that Democrats haven't found one instance where someone was intimidated or prevented from voting.

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12:15 a.m.

Democrats will argue before a federal judge in New Jersey on Friday that Republicans are coordinating with GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump to intimidate voters.

The Republican Party says the charges are not true.

The legal challenge is one of several around the country filed by Democrats claiming Republicans and the Trump campaign are pushing supporters to intimidate and confront voters on Election Day.

Republicans on Thursday fought back against charges of wrongdoing before judges in Nevada and Arizona. Arguments will be heard on Friday in Ohio and in Pennsylvania on Monday.

The nearly identical legal challenges seek court orders intended to block volunteer GOP poll watchers from harassing people headed to the polls.

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