GOP leaders want judge to toss lawsuit by Dems on order of names on the ballot

By Howard Fischer | Capitol Media Services via Arizona Daily Star

Attorneys for the state and Republican legislative leaders are asking a federal judge to throw out a lawsuit by Democrats challenging the way candidates are listed on the ballot.

Attorney Mary O’Grady

Attorney Mary O’Grady, representing Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, does not dispute that a 1979 Arizona law spells out that the party whose candidate got more votes in the last gubernatorial election in each county gets to list its candidates first. That means that in 2020 GOP candidates will be listed ahead of Democrats in 11 of the state’s 15 counties.

But in new legal filings, O’Grady told Judge Diane Humetewa that even if people tend to choose the first person on the ballot, that doesn’t make the system illegal.

“Arizona’s ballot order statute establishes logical, efficient, and manageable rules that determine the order in which candidates’ names appear on a general election ballot,” O’Grady wrote. And she argued that nothing in the law precludes those who have sued — Democrats and Democrat organizations — from voting for the candidates of their choice.

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