Judges question legality of voter-registration deadline extension

By Howard Fischer | Capitol Media Services via Arizona Capitol Times

Two appellate judges on Monday questioned whether it was legal for a trial judge to give Arizonans an extra 2 1/2 weeks to register to vote.

At a telephonic hearing, Judge Jay Bybee, an appointee of President George W. Bush, said the state has done nothing to specifically make it more difficult for Mi Familia Vota and the Arizona Coalition for Change to sign people up. Instead, he said, it was simply the result of the COVID-19 outbreak and restrictions on travel and gatherings imposed by Gov. Doug Ducey.

Judge William Fletcher, an appointee of President Clinton, expressed similar concerns.

“There is, or was, a statutory deadline (of Oct. 5) which, absent COVID, was perfectly valid,” he said. “And I’m not sure that the presence of COVID makes it invalid.”

Even Judge Marsha Berzon, also a Clinton appointee, who seemed sympathetic, had her own concerns about the order by U.S. District Court Judge Steven Logan scrapping the deadline.

But even if the judges of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals void Logan’s order and its new Oct. 23 deadline, that doesn’t end the matter.

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