The Arizona Democratic Party sued the state in June 2020 claiming the deadline for missing signatures denied voters due process and violated their First and Fourteenth Amendment rights. After a federal judge ruled in favor of the Democrats, the state appealed to the Ninth Circuit and oral arguments took place in July 2021.
On Wednesday, a three-judge Ninth Circuit panel reversed the injunction and sided with the state.
“The state had an important regulatory interest in reducing the administrative burden on poll workers, especially during the busy days immediately following an election. In light of the minimal burden on the voter to sign the affidavit or to correct a missing signature by Election Day, the state’s interest sufficiently justified the election-day deadline,” wrote U.S. Circuit Judge Susan P. Graber, a Bill Clinton appointee, for the majority.
In the 20-page opinion, Graber described the state’s examination of ballots and efforts to contact voters who forgot to sign them as “a measure of grace.” A voter who learns their ballot signature was missing at 7:01 pm after polls close on Election Day is simply out of luck.
A Twitter thread from RNC Chief Counsel Justin Riemer provides further context for the important ruling that shows that even the liberal Ninth Circuit recognizes the importance of election integrity:
Some additional info on today's win:— Justin Riemer (@Justin_Riemer) December 8, 2021
1. Leading up to the 2020 election, Democrats sued to challenge the curing deadline for missing signatures on mail ballots, arguing the election day deadline was a violation of the First and Fourteenth amendments and procedural due process. https://t.co/sf3AlphhPX
3. The 9th Circuit ruled that AZ had an important interest in reducing the administrative burden on poll workers, especially following an election, and the deadline created a minimal burden on voters to sign the affidavit or to correct a missing signature by election day.— Justin Riemer (@Justin_Riemer) December 8, 2021
5. For the legal nerds: The 9th Circuit also rejected the Democrats' attempts to bring a procedural due process claim under the Eldridge test, holding instead that the Anderson-Burdick framework controlled.— Justin Riemer (@Justin_Riemer) December 8, 2021
7. A link to the ruling is available here:https://t.co/qTB0tplgm4— Justin Riemer (@Justin_Riemer) December 8, 2021
Congratulations to the RNC on another successful lawsuit protecting the integrity of our elections!