Court Will Again Consider Legality Of Arizona 'Ballot Harvesting'

By Claire Caulfield
Howard Fischer, Capitol Media Services
Published: Friday, September 7, 2018 - 12:35pm
Updated: Monday, September 10, 2018 - 9:17am

Many Arizonans request early ballots, but fail to drop them in the mail in time for election day. Until 2016, political groups on both sides would go door-to-door, offering to deliver those mail-in ballots to a polling place.

But that same year, the Republican-controlled legislature passed House bill 2023 making this practice of “ballot harvesting” illegal.

Now, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals will consider the legality of the practice before the November general election.

Democratic activist Rivko Knox is making another legal plea that the 2016 law violates the First Amendment and discriminates against minority voters. She also wants the judges to at least block the state from enforcing the ban while they consider her legal arguments.

Her attorney Spencer Scharf said his case will focus on a federal law that says private individuals cannot be penalized for delivering mail for free.

"The case law couldn't be more crystal clear that what HB 2023 is is a regulation of the delivery of letters,” he said. “In this case, the letters are early ballots.”

This is not the first time Knox and Scharf have taken this issue to court, but all other appeals have been unsuccessful.

The hearing is set for October 3.

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