- Associated Press - Thursday, November 3, 2016

PHOENIX (AP) - The Latest on U.S. District Court hearings in Phoenix and Las Vegas on Democratic party lawsuits claiming voter intimidation by Republicans and the Donald Trump campaign (all times local):

6:30 p.m.

A lawyer for a Florida man who Democrats accuse of planning widespread voter intimidation in the Nov. 8 election told a federal judge in Phoenix there’s no evidence that’s the case.

Paul Jensen told U.S. District Judge John Tuchi that the Arizona Democratic Party’s complaint naming Roger Stone Jr., and his group called Stop the Steal is rife with speculation and void of any factual evidence. He says the Democratic Party is attempting to quash his client’s Constitutional rights to free speech. The lawsuit also names the state Republican Party and the Trump for President Campaign.

Stop the Steal is signing up volunteers to go to the polls and conduct “exit polls” they say are designed to check the accuracy of voting machines. Democrats call it voter harassment.

Jensen’s arguments came at the end of a four-hour hearing Thursday that saw the chairman of the state Republican Party and a volunteer attorney who trains poll GOP watchers testify. Chairman Robert Graham testified that certified poll watchers are trained in the law and told not to intimidate voters.

The Democrats want the judge to issue an injunction blocking tactics by the GOP and Stone’s group that it says will harass voters. Tuchi sharply questioned lawyers for both sides during the hearing as he worked to try to understand how to craft an order if he decides Democrats should prevail.

The lawsuit is one of four filed in battleground states. It seeks an order blocking volunteer GOP poll-watchers from harassing people headed to polling locations.

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4:20 p.m.

A federal judge in Las Vegas says he hasn’t seen evidence that Donald Trump’s presidential campaign is training people to intimidate voters in Nevada, and he sees no need for a restraining order that Democrats sought ahead of Tuesday’s election.

U.S. District Judge Richard Boulware’s comments came after Nevada’s top Trump election day operations chief testified that on Thursday morning he emailed the more than 100 people he’s trained as poll-watchers about rules they have to follow if they challenge a voter’s eligibility.

The judge set a Friday hearing on allegations that a GOP associate, Roger Stone Jr., and his group called Stop the Steal are encouraging what Democrats call “vigilante voter intimidation.”

And in a nod to what the judge called “unique and special enthusiasm in this election,” he said he’ll hold a hearing Tuesday if any reports surface that day of voter harassment at the polls.

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10:50 a.m.

In Las Vegas, a partisan battle about fears of voter intimidation is returning to federal court for testimony from a Donald Trump campaign official about training given to Republican poll-watchers in Nevada.

U.S. District Judge Richard Boulware has said Thursday’s hearing will help him decide by the weekend on a request by Democrats for a restraining order telling people supporting Trump not to harass voters at polls next Tuesday.

The judge indicated Wednesday that a court order could amount to having the Trump campaign issue a memo to volunteer poll-watchers about state laws they have to follow if they challenge the eligibility of a voter.

Nevada Democrats accuse the Trump campaign, party associate Roger Stone Jr., and Stone’s group called “Stop the Steal” of encouraging what the Democrats call “vigilante voter intimidation.”

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2:50 a.m.

A federal judge in Phoenix is set to hear arguments on a lawsuit that seeks to stop what it believes will be Election Day voter intimidation by Republicans.

U.S. District Court Judge John Tuchi on Thursday is set to hear from both sides on the Arizona Democratic Party’s request to block what it says will be illegal tactics.

The suit is one of four filed in battleground states. It seeks an order blocking volunteer GOP poll watchers from harassing people headed to polling locations. The suit names the state Republican Party, Donald Trump’s campaign, Roger Stone and his group called “Stop the Steal” that’s organizing “citizen journalists” and “poll watchers.”

The Trump campaign says the lawsuit is long on rhetoric and short on substance and designed to distract from Hillary Clinton’s troubles.

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