Judge denies parties’ real-time access to voter info when ballot is deficient

By Howard Fischer | Capitol Media Services via Arizona Capitol Times

Arizona Democratic Party is not entitled to a real-time time access to a list of voters whose signatures on early ballot envelopes do not match what’s on file or when a voter forgets to sign entirely, a judge rule late Wednesday.

Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Scott McCoy acknowledged that the information sought is public. The judge also said that, in general, public records have to be produced “promptly.”

But McCoy said that can be overcome if the government demonstrates “specific material harm or risk to the best interests of the state.” And he said that Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes has shown that being forced to produce the records the party wants meets that burden.

“The state of Arizona has a strong interest in promoting public confidence in elections,” the judge wrote. McCoy said he was convinced by arguments presented by Fontes that releasing that information prior to Election Day creates a “potential for voter confusion, frustration and suppression.”

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