An Arizona judge on Monday denied a request by the state’s Republican Party to block most mail-in ballots ahead of the midterm elections.
Why is this important: Mail-in voting has grown in popularity during the pandemic, and in 2020 or so 90% of Arizonans voted using ballots that arrived in the mail.
The big picture: Mohave County Superior Court Judge Lee Jantzen wrote in judgment that “there is nothing in the Arizona Constitution that expressly prohibits the Legislature from writing new voting laws”, including those that allow citizens to vote by mail.
- Jantzen explained in the ruling that the plaintiffs argued that mail-in voting without an excuse violated the state constitution “as applied” and presented examples of “bad actors” violating laws.
- However, these examples “did not show a pattern of conduct so blatant that it would undermine the entire no-apology absentee ballot system”, adding that appropriate enforcement mechanisms exist to deal with those who violate the laws. .
What they say : “The laws are far from perfect and no one predicted thirty years ago that approximately 90% of Arizona voters would vote by mail during a pandemic, but these laws are NOT in violation of the US Constitution. Arizona,” Jantzen wrote.
- “They are not unsuited to the intentions of the framers of the Constitution who emphasized the right to suffrage for the citizens of Arizona and that voter ballots be secret.”
State of play: The case is the latest effort by the Arizona Republican Party and its chairman, Kelli Ward, to curb the state’s no-excuse mail-in voting system established in 1991 in an effort to get nearly all Arizonans to vote in person on election day, by PA.