Thursday, May 21, 2020

BREAKING: Arizona Settles Lawsuit Challenging Deadline To Receive Mail-In Ballots

Arizona has settled a lawsuit challenging the law that mail-in ballots must be *received* by 7pm on Election Day. The Democratic Party said that the ballots should be accepted and counted as long as they are postmarked by Election Day (and received within five days after).

Although details of Arizona's settlement in principle are not yet available, the ground underneath the conflict shifted substantially last month when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on a Republican challenge to Wisconsin's primary election procedures. In that ruling, the Justices rejected allowing ballots to be postmarked *after* election day, but blessed counting the ballot as long as it was postmarked on or before election day and received within six days.

Attorneys for the Democratic-affiliated groups Voto Latino and Priorities USA promptly cited that decision in the Arizona case. A hearing was scheduled for this morning, but the parties filed their request to postpone it in light of their "settlement in principle".

Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs did not side with the Plaintiffs, and the Attorney General's Office has represented her in defending the *received by Election Day* law.

Arizona moved to so-called "no excuse" absentee mail-in voting  a bunch of years ago, and most Arizonans are on the Permanent Early Voting List, which gives them the option of using the early-mailed ballot or voting in person on Election Day. People can mail a PEVL request form to their County Recorder or add their name online at ServiceArizona.com.

Early mail-in voting is currently in the news and under attack from President Donald Trump. One of the President's lines of attack is that so-called "ballot harvesting" can provide opportunities for fraud. Arizona may be in the forefront of that subject, as well; the state and the Republican Party have appealed a 9th Circuit ruling to the Supreme Court, seeking to reinstate the state's ban on delivering other people's completed ballots. County Recorders carefully match the voters' signatures between the envelope containing the ballot and the voter registration records.

"AZ Law" has reached out to the parties for comment, and will update as warranted.

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