This was a no-brainer. The Arizona Mirror reports, Judge rejects Arizona GOP lawsuit to ban vote-by-mail:

The Arizona Republican Party’s efforts to prove that voting by mail is unconstitutional failed in a Mohave County court, but the decision is expected to be appealed.

Advertisement

Mohave County Superior Court Judge Lee Jantzen said Monday that the entire case came down to one question: Is the Arizona legislature prohibited by the Arizona Constitution from enacting voting laws that include no-excuse mail-in voting?

“The answer is no,” Jantzen wrote.

Party officials had argued that vote-by-mail violates the state constitution because it does not sufficiently guarantee “secrecy in voting,” and pointed out that the framers of the constitution always intended that voting would occur in person “at the polls.” Election officials and Democrats say there is plenty of protection of the secret ballot built into the system and argued that the drafters of the constitution gave the legislature broad power to specify the method of voting.

Reminder: For decades the Arizona Republican Party would send registered Republicans a postcard they could use to request an absentee ballot to vote. This gave Republcians an electoral advantage. Then in 1991 a Republican-controlled legislature enacted early voting with no-excuse mail-in voting.  A few years later, a Republican-controlled legislature enacted the Permanent Early Voting List (PEVL), again because this gave Republicans an electoral advantage.  Democrats in Arizona did not match the Republicans in early voting until the 2018 and 2020 elections. Now that Democrats have matched Republicans in early voting and won a few elections, all of  a sudden the voting system that Republicans created to benefit themselves is unconstutional and rife with voter fraud because they finally lost a few elections, and their “Dear Leader” Donald Trump wants people to believe, without any evidence, that early no-excuse mail-in voting is somehow fraudulent because he lost.

The ruling is viewed as a win for election officials across the state, who now won’t have to go into panic mode five months before the general election to replace the method of voting that 90% of the state’s voters opted to use in 2020. In a normal election cycle not clouded by a pandemic, that number is closer to 80%.

No-excuse voting by mail has been around in Arizona since 1991 and many of the people involved in arguing its unconstitutionality have voted by mail, public records show. That includes Arizona GOP chair Kelli Ward and the attorney who brought the case, Alexander Kolodin.

The state Republican Party attempted to fast track the lawsuit to the Arizona Supreme Court, but the court said they must go through the proper channels, starting in lower courts and then appeal its way up. While this case wasn’t arguing widespread fraud in the 2020 election, the debunked theory that the election was stolen from Donald Trump was a clear motivator for the lawsuit.

Election officials and exports of both parties have said there is no evidence that vote-by-mail is rife with fraud, or even unusually prone to it.

Judge Jantzen also ruled against the GOP’s request for a preliminary injunction, which would have put a halt on mail ballots for the November election and resulted in potentially 3 million voters being forced to show up in person at their local polling places. Since ballots for the Aug. 2 primary were already printed, the lawsuit would have no bearing on that election.

Jantzen wrote in his 5-page ruling that while voting by mail has been around for 30 years, the system is still “far from perfect and nobody anticipated 30 years ago that approximately 90% of Arizona voters would vote by mail during a pandemic.”

But that doesn’t mean it’s unconstitutional, he added.

The Associated Press adds, Arizona judge declines GOP request to block mail voting:

The case is the latest piece of a multi-pronged effort by the Arizona Republican Party and its [election denier coup plotter, and fake GQP elector] chair, Kelli Ward, to roll back a system of no-excuse absentee voting that the GOP-controlled Legislature has built since 1991. They’ve pushed to require nearly everyone to cast a ballot in person on Election Day as former President Donald Trump repeats the lie that he lost the 2020 election because of fraud linked to mail ballots in Arizona and other battleground states.

Arizona is among the states with the highest levels of mail voting, a system that has grown overwhelmingly popular with voters from both parties as well as independents. Striking down those laws would have had major implications for the 2022 election in Arizona, which includes one of the handful of races that will determine which party controls the U.S. Senate.

* * *

Ward and the state GOP originally filed their lawsuit directly with the Arizona Supreme Court earlier this year, a highly unusual step, but the justices said it should go through a trial court first and they would only consider it on appeal. They refiled the case last month in Mohave County, the most conservative county in the state, where Trump got 75% of the vote in 2020.

Republican Attorney General Mark Brnovich, who has earned Trump’s ire for failing to more aggressively advance the former president’s lies about the 2020 election, declined to defend the mail voting laws in court [failing to do the job he gets paid to do]. Brnovich is running in a crowded GOP primary for U.S. Senate.

With Brnovich on the sidelines, the law was instead defended by lawyers hired by Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, a Democrat, along with the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, which represented seven county recorders. The Arizona Democratic Party and three national Democratic Party organizations also intervened to defend the law.

So say “Thank you Democrats for saving my preferred method of voting,” and punish the Republicans for their election denier conspiracy attempts to suppress your vote in Arizona.




Advertisement