Progressive groups challenge law on deadline for ballots

By Howard Fischer | Capitol Media Services via Arizona Capitol Times

Saying voters are being disenfranchised, two groups are asking a federal judge to void an Arizona law that says ballots have to be received by county officials by 7 p.m. on Election Day to be counted.

In new legal papers filed here Tuesday, attorney Sarah Gonski said the state has “no legitimate interest” in enforcing the deadline, particularly when the state is promoting that people cast their ballot by mail.

“Although Arizona may certainly set a reasonable deadline to receive ballots to ensure the finality of election results, the current Election Day receipt deadline is unreasonable and disenfranchising,” she wrote. “It is contrary to voters’ reasonable expectations, necessitates that ballots be cast far earlier than they need to be, and is poorly communicated to voters.”

What Gonski told Judge Dominic Lanza would be reasonable is to require that ballots be postmarked by the 7 p.m. deadline and received within five business days afterwards.

“After all, Arizona need not complete its total vote count until 20 days after Election Day,” she said.

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