Arizona judge tosses GOP attempt to halt no-excuse mail-in voting

A Republican attempt to ban “no excuse” mail-in voting in Arizona – a state in which former President Donald Trump has long alleged serious ballot improprieties – has just been shot down by a Superior Court judge in Mohave County, as the Washington Examiner reports.

The decision, handed down by Judge Lee Jantzen, will allow such procedures to remain in place during the upcoming midterm elections, despite GOP opposition, and as such, Arizonans will be free to use absentee ballots regardless of whether they provide a reason for doing so, unlike in some other jurisdictions, where medical conditions or other valid justifications must be provided.

According to the Republican plaintiffs in the case, the Arizona constitution only discusses voting in the context of doing so “at the polls,” and makes no mention of mail as an alternative method of casting ballots.

Indeed, attorneys for the GOP plaintiffs contended, according to local television affiliate Fox 10 in Phoenix, that taken together, there are several clauses in the state constitution that demonstrate the framers’ intent to preclude mail-in voting, and as such, only the voters – not elected legislators – have the power to authorize it via a constitutional amendment.

Even so, Judge Jantzen held that no constitutional provisions prohibited the use of no-excuse mail-in voting either, and he therefore allowed the practice to proceed.

In issuing his ruling, 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.”

Jantzen also noted that the type of mail-in voting utilized in Arizona incorporates safety mechanisms to prevent tampering, such as privacy-enhanced return envelopes that are designed in such a way as to quickly reveal any attempt to breach the seal.

Responding to the outcome, Arizona Democratic Party Chair Raquel Teran declared, “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.”

On Monday, the Republican Party in Arizona indicated that it was reviewing options, which could include a potential appeal, saying, “We knew going in that asking a superior court judge to take it upon itself to strike down this unconstitutional system was a big ask.”