Court: ‘Ballot harvesting’ ban not 1st Amendment violation

By Howard Fischer | Capitol Media Services via Arizona Capitol Times

A federal appeals court has rebuffed yet another attempt to void the state’s 2016 ban on so called “ballot harvesting.”

In a unanimous decision, a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected arguments by Democrat activist Rivko Knox that making it a felony for her to take someone else’s ballot to polling places interfered with her First Amendment rights. And the judges were no more sympathetic to her contention that the Arizona law illegally infringed on the right of the federal government to regulate who can deliver mail.

This is the second appellate court defeat for those who are opposed to the law. The judges have previously rejected arguments that the statute banning ballot harvesting is legally unjustified because there is no evidence that the practice resulted in fraud.

The fight is over what had been the practice of some political and community groups of going door-to-door ahead of elections to ask people if they already had mailed back their early ballots. If not, the volunteers would offer to deliver them, especially if the election were only a few days off and there was no guarantee that mailing them would get them to county election officials on time.

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