Emails Show Constitutional Sheriff’s Efforts To Expand Surveillance Of Drop Boxes

PHOENIX, ARIZONA - JULY 24: Arizona Sheriff Mark Lamb speaks during the Rally To Protect Our Elections conference on July 24, 2021 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Phoenix-based political organization Turning Point Action ho... PHOENIX, ARIZONA - JULY 24: Arizona Sheriff Mark Lamb speaks during the Rally To Protect Our Elections conference on July 24, 2021 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Phoenix-based political organization Turning Point Action hosted former President Donald Trump alongside GOP Arizona candidates who have begun candidacy for government elected roles. (Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images) MORE LESS

A sheriff in Arizona has reached out to other sheriffs across the country to encourage them to surveil drop box locations, a CNN investigation found.

Sheriff Mark Lamb out of Pinal County, Arizona, has been sending out emails to others in his cohort Uncle Sam-style: “Here’s how YOU can enforce election integrity,” he wrote, offering recommendations for how to increase “patrol activity around drop box locations” and use “video surveillance” with “access points directly on Sheriff Department computers.”

Lamb is the co-founder of Protect America Now, a group of about 70 sheriffs who claim to support members of law enforcement that “serve our people and protect our citizens,” according to their website. The group has been associated with the so-called constitutional sheriffs movement, an ideology based on the false belief that sheriffs have unconstrained power within their counties.

The movement centers on the belief that “ law enforcement powers held by the sheriffs supersede those of any agent, officer, elected official or employee from any level of government when in the jurisdiction of the county,” according to the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association, which Lamb is also connected to.

Lamb is an eager participant in the movement, to the point that local citizens have complained he’s “selective about which laws he’s enforcing.”

His emails also encouraged other sheriffs to report suspected supposed election malfeasances to a hotline connected to the right-wing election conspiracy group True the Vote.

The conspiracy theory group founded by Catherine Engelbrecht and Gregg Phillips in 2009 gained national notoriety after the 2020 election for promoting elements of Donald Trump’s Big Lie. The group, of course, backed the much-debunked propaganda film “2000 Mules, which inspired at least two groups in Arizona to stalk drop boxes before they were stopped by a federal judge.

The emails may have had the desired effect: Sheriffs have been monitoring drop boxes since early voting began in some states. A spokesperson for the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office told CNN that deputies conduct “welfare checks” on drop boxes as part of their protocol, but CNN found no evidence of that requirement anywhere in Arizona.

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