Superior Court Judge Stops GOP Attempt To Sabotage Mail-In Voting

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In Arizona, Mohave County Superior Court Judge Lee Jantzen has dismissed a Republican lawsuit that sought to essentially dismantle the state’s absentee voting system. The case, from the state GOP and its extremist chairwoman, Kelli Ward, sought measures including a block on the usage of no-excuse mail-in voting for Arizona’s midterm elections later this year.

“This case can be decided on the merits based on the information the Court has received,” Jantzen wrote — and he found the case to be sorely lacking. “It is important to note what this case is not about [–] allegations of fraud in the voting process. It is not about politics. It is not even about whether the parties believe mail-in voting is appropriate. It is about one thing: Is the Arizona legislature prohibited by the Arizona Constitution from enacting voting laws that include no-excuse mail-in voting?” the judge added.

“There is nothing in the Arizona Constitution which expressly prohibits the legislature from authoring new voting laws, including “no-excuse” mail-in ballots,” Jantzen concluded. Arizona Republicans argued no-excuse mail-in voting violated the state Constitution for reasons including the supposed violations of the secrecy of the vote inherent in the process. Actually, Jantzen noted, there are numerous safeguards maintaining secrecy. “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 judge said. “They are not inapposite of the intentions of the framers of the Constitution who emphasized the right to suffrage for Arizona citizens and that the voters’ ballots be secret. The [no-excuse mail-in voting] laws passed by the Arizona legislature in 1991 further those goals.”

“It is the only question before the Court: Is the Arizona legislature prohibited by the Arizona Constitution from enacting voting laws that include no-excuse mail-in voting? The answer is no,” the judge said in his ruling, which was dated Monday. Almost all mail-in voting would have seemingly been blocked if Republicans got their way; it seems as though some of if not the only mail-in voting options still available would have been for members of the military. Absentee voting for military members is apparently required under federal law to be available. “An appeal is widely expected, and the case ultimately could reach the state Supreme Court,” the Arizona Republic said.

Per Democracy Docket, a voting rights organization involved in the legal fight to secure elections against right-wing meddling, Republicans behind the now defeated case also claimed “that the Arizona Constitution requires in-person voting on specific days and, because mail-in voting does not follow these rules, it is unconstitutional.” The now rejected case constitutes the second similar case from Arizona Republicans. Back in April, the Arizona state Supreme Court refused to take up a state GOP-backed case seeking the elimination of most mail-in voting in the state. It was partly concluded that the case — which was filed directly with the state Supreme Court — didn’t fulfill certain specifications required for matters brought right to Arizona’s highest court.