Arizona Supreme Court rejects jurisdiction over GOP lawsuit to end early voting
The Arizona Supreme Court won't quash the method of voting used by nearly 90% of state residents, at least not now.
In a brief order late Tuesday the justices rejected a bid by the Arizona Republican Party to get the justices to declare that early voting is unconstitutional. They rejected arguments by attorneys for the party that the issue is strictly legal and ripe for them to decide.
But the order, signed by Chief Justice Robert Brutinel, does not end the matter.
He said the challengers are free to refile the case in Maricopa County Superior Court where they can provide some factual basis for their allegations. Only after there is a decision at the trial court — and the judge there makes some findings — would it be appropriate for the high court to review the issue.
Central to the fight is the contention by attorney Alexander Kolodin that the only form of voting specifically authorized by the framers of the state constitution is in person, and on Election Day. What that means, he said, is anything else — including the current system of no-excuse early ballots created by the legislature in 1991 — is illegal.
Kolodin had no better luck with his alternate legal theory that even if early voting is allowed, the state is required to return to the way the situation was prior to 1991. That still allowed people to get early ballots, but also had to provide some proof they needed it, like being away from their voting precinct on Election Day or a physical disability. And Kolodin said that, at least, would provide more security over early ballots than the current system.
The lawsuit has drawn opposition not just from Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, who is the state's top election official, but also from Republican Gov. Doug Ducey. He called the lawsuit "ill-conceived."
"It would undo the work of many Republican governors and secretaries of state over the past several decades," he told reporters last month. And Ducey said the lawsuit is "poorly crafted."
Kolodin also attempted to get the justices to rule that the use of drop boxes for ballots is illegal.
There was no immediate response from Kolodin.