On Tuesday, November 26, Voto Latino and Priorities USA filed a complaint challenging the deadline for returning absentee ballots in Arizona. The groups filed the lawsuit in response to the law’s unconstitutional barriers to voting for Latino and Hispanic voters.
Current Arizona law states that in order for an absentee ballot to be counted, it must be delivered to the office of the county recorder, officer in charge of elections, or any polling place no later than 7 p.m. on Election Day. However, many voters incorrectly believe that ballots are timely as long as they are postmarked by Election Day. Conditioning the validity of ballots solely on a “received by” date, rather than the postmark date ensures qualified voters submitting mail ballots can be denied the right to vote based entirely on arbitrary factors beyond their control.
The complaint filed argues that the Election Day Receipt Deadline violates the First and 14th Amendments because it imposes an undue burden on voters and strips voters of their right to procedural due process. It also undermines the ability of Arizona’s Hispanic and Latino voters to elect candidates of their choice, in violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.
“Creating artificial barriers towards the democratic participation of some diminishes the strength of our democracy as a whole. Attempts to silence the voice of the people, in whatever form it may take, must be struck down with the full force of the law,” said Voto Latino President & CEO, María Teresa Kumar. “We look forward to joining forces with Priorities USA to end voter disenfranchisement shenanigans in Arizona. A thriving democracy ensures that all citizens’ vote is treated equally regardless of zip code.”
“This provision is another example of the countless attempts to disenfranchise communities of color across the country,” said Guy Cecil, chairman of Priorities USA. “We are pleased to join the fight with Voto Latino in ensuring that everyone is free from unnecessary barriers to the ballot box.”