PHOENIX (Associated Press) — A federal judge has refused to bar a group from monitoring outdoor ballot boxes in Arizona’s largest county, saying that to do so could violate its constitutional rights.

U.S. District Court Judge Michael Liburdi issued the ruling Friday.

Local and federal law enforcement have been alarmed by reports of people watching outdoor 24-hour ballot boxes in Maricopa County – Arizona’s most populous county – and rural Yavapai County as midterm elections near.

Some ballot watchers have shown up armed and wearing ballistic vests.

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