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Arizona judge upholds mail-in voting

The GOP asked the court to restrict mail-in voting for November's general election

Published: June 6, 2022 6:40pm

Updated: June 6, 2022 8:20pm

(The Center Square) -

A judge has ruled in favor of Secretary of State Katie Hobbs and others in fending off a challenge from the state’s Republican Party that said mail-in early voting violates the Arizona Constitution.

Mohave County Superior Court Judge Lee Jantzen ruled Monday that the state GOP didn’t show just cause that no-excuse mail-in voting violated Arizona’s constitutional right to a secret ballot.

“Defendants for the past thirty years have applied the laws of Arizona as written,” Jantzen wrote. “The laws are far from perfect and nobody anticipated thirty years ago that approximately 90 percent of Arizona voters would vote by mail-in ballot during a pandemic, but these laws are NOT in violation of the Arizona Constitution.”

The GOP asked the court to restrict mail-in voting for November's general election, not the August primary election that begins early voting one month from Monday.

Arizona began no-excuse mail-in voting in 1992. In the 2020 general election, 89% of state voters cast ballots before election day. Former President Donald Trump and others in the national and state GOP stress that Maricopa County’s election was fraudulent and must be overturned. Despite a partisan election review from the Republican-controlled state Senate and other analyses, no one has yet to come forward with conclusive proof of widespread election fraud.

The Associated Press obtained documents on June 1 reflecting an indictment of a San Luis woman who would collect and sometimes fill out ballots for people. The report said she was a “well-known Democratic operative.” AP said Guillermina Fuentes, 66, is accused of illegally facilitating fewer than a dozen ballots.

The Arizona Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal from GOP Chair Kelli Ward in April that challenged ballot boxes and remote voting.

The Center Square has reached out to the Arizona Republican Party for comment as well as whether they plan to appeal the ruling.

Democrats, who contend limiting mail-in voting would violate the state Constitution, lambasted the latest challenge.

"Arizona Democrats defended democracy and won, striking down the AZ GOP's shameful, embarrassing, and unconstitutional effort to try and end early voting in our state,” said Raquel Terán, Arizona Democratic Party chairwoman. “To the 89% of AZ voters who vote early, we are with you, and we will never stop defending your right to cast your ballot in Arizona’s long-standing safe, secure, and trusted electoral system.”

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