Arizona court rejects GOP push to end early voting

The Arizona Court of Appeals this week rejected an attempt by the Republican Party to end early voting by arguing mail-in voting violated state’s constitution.

A three-judge panel issued an 11-page ruling Tuesday that said mail-in voting did not violate the state’s secrecy clause after Republicans looked to end a practice that has become the state’s number one way to vote.

“Arizona’s mail-in voting statutes ensure that voters fill out their ballot in a manner that does not disclose their vote and that voters’ choices are not later revealed,” the court ruled. “The superior court did not err in finding that these protections are sufficient to preserve secrecy in voting.”

A voter displays their mail-in ballot envelope as they arrive to cast their ballot in the U.S. presidential election at an early voting location in Phoenix on Oct. 16, 2020.
(ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images)

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Some 80 percent of Arizona voters utilize the state’s early voting system that has been in place since 1991 by requesting mail-in ballots that can be returned through the U.S. Postal system or dropped off any a ballot box location.

The court ruled that the voting system maintains voter secrecy “by requiring voters to ensure that they fill out their ballot in secret and seal the ballot in an envelope that does not disclose the voters’ choices.”

Voting machine malfunctions in Arizona lent to concerns over election integrity.
(AP Photo/Matt York)

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It is unclear if the GOP plan to take the case to the Arizona Supreme Court.

There have been several attempts by the GOP to dismantle or discredit Arizona’s mail-in voting system following the 2020 defeat of Donald Trump to President Biden in the traditionally red state, though Arizona has trended purple in recent years.

A voter casts their ballot at a secure ballot drop box at the Maricopa County Tabulation and Election Center in Phoenix, Nov. 1, 2022.
(AP Photo/Matt York)

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Democrats again secured victories in the 2022 midterm elections when Sen. Mark Kelly and Gov. Katie Hobbs beat out their GOP contenders.

The Republican Party filed a similar suit in February 2022 in an attempt to end early voting by alleging that “in-person voting at the polls on a fixed date is the only constitutionally permissible manner of voting,” reported The Associated Press.