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Arizona's Citizens Clean Elections Commission says group watching drop boxes can't use similar name

Arizona's Citizens Clean Elections Commission was created by voters in 1998 to help ensure the integrity of elections. But now a grass-roots group alleging fraud in the 2020 election has adopted a similar name — and is patrolling drop boxes throughout Maricopa County. 

The state’s commission wants to bar the group from operating under the name “Clean Elections.”

Executive Director Tom Collins said in a message to the Attorney General’s Office that while the monitoring itself is legal, the group’s use of the name Clean Elections USA is undermining what the Citizens Commission is doing in the state. 

The commission sponsors debates, provides public funding to candidates and encourages participation in democracy. Collins said the rival group’s efforts are in stark contrast and could be seen as voter intimidation.

The Clean Elections USA founder appeared on former President Donald Trump aide Steve Bannon’s podcast saying it has volunteers in 18 states to watch drop boxes.

Collins wrote the usage of the Clean Elections name in Arizona creates a high likelihood of confusion and may cause voters to find the commission’s voter guide untrustworthy and partisan. 

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Greg Hahne started as a news intern at KJZZ in 2020 and returned as a field correspondent in 2021. He learned his love for radio by joining Arizona State University's Blaze Radio, where he worked on the production team.