Court rules Arizona mail-in voters must sign ballots no later than Election Day

by Laura Ramirez

A federal appeals court in Arizona ruled Wednesday all mail-in voters must sign their ballots no later than Election Day, affirming Arizonans lack the right to change ballots after Election Day.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, in a 2-1 decision overturned a lower-court ruling claiming it is unconstitutional for voters to receive time to resolve mismatched signatures on ballots but not missing signatures, according to the Associated Press.

GOP Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel celebrated the ruling as a “big win for election integrity in Arizona for the @GOP and @AZGOP!”

This comes after Arizona’s legislature in 2019 established a five-day post-Election Day period for voters to fix mismatched signatures in federal elections. However, that same privilege was not given to voters who failed to add a signature. Democrat Secretary of State Katie Hobbs attempted to include missing signatures, but her plan was shot down by Republican Attorney General Mark Brnovich.

With Judge Susan Graber writing for the majority, the appellate judges agreed that voters who did not sign their ballots are not entitled to the five-day grace period after Election Day to fix mismatched signatures.

Graber acknowledged concerns that allowing a post-election fix for unsigned ballots could cause an administrative burden on poll workers and staff, saying that the difference is that a “voter may verify his or her signature with a short phone call to the recorder’s office.”

Democratic National Committee, the Arizona Democratic Party, and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee brought forth the lawsuit.

The decision comes months after the Arizona Audit revealed damming voter discrepancies in Maricopa County.

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