Republicans backing lawsuit to end early voting in Arizona have history of voting early

By Stacey Barchenger | Arizona Republic

Arizona voters overwhelmingly choose to vote early, and so have the chief proponents of a Republican-backed lawsuit seeking to end the practice in the Grand Canyon State.

Arizona Republican Party Chairwoman Kelli Ward, party Secretary Yvonne Cahill and GOP candidate for governor Kari Lake — the state party’s sole ally in its controversial quest to upend the voting method used for more than three decades — have all voted early or by mail in recent years, records obtained by The Arizona Republic show.

Ward has voted early in state and federal contests since the November 2016 election of Donald Trump, state records show. Cahill has returned her ballot by mail since then, and Lake faithfully mailed in her ballot until November 2020, state and Maricopa County records show.

Yet now they argue that Arizona must ban mail-in ballots and allow voting only in person, on Election Day, to “protect the integrity of elections by preventing the possibility of coercion and fraud,” according to the GOP lawsuit. 

Democrats dismiss the lawsuit as a political tactic in the GOP’s effort to suppress votes in the battleground state by making it harder to cast a ballot. In her response to the legal claims, Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs noted that Ward voted early in 2020.

“The vast majority of voters in Arizona vote early, including many of those who are attacking the system that has been in place for decades,” Hobbs, who is the defendant in the lawsuit, said in a statement to The Arizona Republic. “Their sole purpose seems to be to create more partisan divisions, and to perpetuate the false narrative that elections can be either secure or accessible.” 

Hobbs, who is running for her party’s nomination for governor, is centering her campaign on a fervent defense of Arizona’s election system. She is a regular mail-in voter, records show.

Change of heart for lawsuit backers?

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