Two federal courts have denied Democrats’ requests for a stay of GOP voter suppression in Arizona for this election. The case-in-chief will continue. Judges deal double blows to Democrats’ voting challenges:
Federal judges dealt double blows to Democrats’ efforts to challenge Arizona election laws Tuesday, with an appeals court panel refusing to block a new law prohibiting get-out-the-vote groups from collecting early ballots and a U.S. District Court judge declining to order Arizona to count votes cast in the wrong precinct.
The rulings came in different parts of the same lawsuit filed by Democratic voters and national and state Democratic groups, along with presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. It was filed after major problems with long lines during the March presidential primary election and the signing of the new ballot collection law by Republican Gov. Doug Ducey.
In the ballot collection portion, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals refused to overturn a decision by U.S. District Court Judge Douglas Rayes that kept the new law in effect. It means people who collect ballots for delivery to the polls in most cases face a felony charge.
Democratic groups challenged the law under the Voting Rights Act and argued it disproportionately affected minority voters. Republican backers argued it was needed to prevent [non-existent] voting fraud.
Both parties have used ballot collection to boost turnout during elections by going door-to-door and asking voters if they have completed their mail-in ballot. If they have not, they urge them to do so and offer to return it to elections offices. Democrats, however, use the technique more often as part of their get-out-the-vote efforts.
Ducey signed the law in early March, calling it a “common-sense approach to maintaining the integrity of our elections.”
In their injunction request, Democrats argued there has been a lengthy history of discrimination at the polls in Arizona and that the law was orchestrated to suppress voter turnout among Democratic voters.
The separate district court ruling by Rayes rejected a request by Democrats to block Arizona’s practice of invalidating ballots cast in the incorrect precinct. The judge said the state has a valid reason not to count such votes because different races are on ballots in different precincts and Democrats haven’t shown that minorities were affected more than white voters.
The decisions don’t end the case but instead keep current practices in place pending a full trial.
I know there are several voting rights organizations out there who have made use of ballot collection in the past to assist voters. But unless you are willing to be charged with a felony for purposes of challenging these new laws, it is not worth the risk. Have voters mail their early ballots, or offer to drive them to early voting sites so they can vote. The earlier you vote, the better.
Voters can avoid the long delays and poll workers giving you the wrong information about where to vote on election day. You just know that Helen Purcell in the state of Maricopa is going to screw up again (you can vote her out of office when you vote).
Remember this November which party voted to suppress your vote, and vote them out of office.