A federal appellate court has flipped a lower court’s ruling, saying Arizona poll workers aren’t required to let a voter sign their ballot days after polls have closed.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a lower court ruling that said it’s unconstitutional to allow voters to fix problematic signatures but not unsigned ballots.
The appellate court sided with the Republican Party of Arizona and others over the state Democratic Party and its allies.
The 2-1 decision said getting a voter to sign a ballot after polls close poses a burden on poll workers when they are at their busiest.
“The panel held that…the State had an important regulatory interest in reducing the administrative burden on poll workers, especially during the busy days immediately following an election. In light of the minimal burden on the voter to sign the affidavit or to correct a missing signature by election day, the State’s interest sufficiently justified the election-day deadline,” the opinion said.
Most Arizona voters cast their ballots by mail, something that’s been allowed since 1991. In the 2020 General Election, 2.5 million voters cast their ballots by mail.
The dissenting judge said the state “offered no rational explanation for requiring ballots missing signatures to be cured by election day, given the five-day post-election cure period for correcting other similar mistakes.”
The challenge stems from a 2019 law that required county elections officials to give voters five days to remedy a mismatched signature. Republican Attorney General Mark Brnovich refused to approve a change to election rules proposed by Secretary of State Katie Hobbs that would have allowed the same grace period for missing signatures in the 2020 election.
The Democratic Party has yet to announce an appeal, which would likely be in the form of an en banc hearing by the same appellate court.