Arizona Bans Post-Election Signature ‘Fix’ for Unsigned Mail-in Ballots

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signed a law that bans voters from adding signatures on unsigned mail-in ballots after Election Day.

The measure, Arizona Senate Bill 1003 (S.B. 1003), was approved earlier in the state legislature in party-line votes with Republicans in favor and Democrats opposed.

mail truck delivers ballots for dems

The new law codifies a ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit on Oct. 6, 2020, within one month of the 2020 election. It also ended disputes over unsigned mail-in ballots between the state Republicans and Democrats.

Current Arizona law allows election officials to contact voters to fix the signatures on the ballots if the signatures don’t match other signatures from records in the Department of Motor Vehicle, voter registration forms, or previous early ballots. The voters can fix the signatures, if they failed to pass the verification process, within up to five business days after Election Day.

While the new law didn’t change anything about the grace period for the signed ballots, it ended state Democrats’ efforts to add a similar grace period to unsigned ballots.

According to The Epoch Times, Hobbs’s move is part of efforts to honor a settlement in 2019 with the Navajo Nation, which would allow tribal voters with mismatched or missing signatures on mail-in ballots to correct their ballots with five business days after Election Day.

However, the efforts were stopped by appeals court judges who said, in alignment with the state Republicans, that the Democrats went too far by giving absentee voters five days after Election Day to correct missing signatures on mail-in ballots.

“All ballots must have some deadline, and it is reasonable that Arizona has chosen to make that deadline Election Day itself so as to promote its unquestioned interest in administering an orderly election and to facilitate its already burdensome job of collecting, verifying, and counting all of the votes in timely fashion,” the appellate court said.

The new law codified the appeal court’s ruling by adding an amendment to the current Arizona election law. The amendment requires all mail-in ballots to be delivered to the county recorder, other officers in charge of the election, or polling sites no later than 7 p.m. on Election Day.

“The ballot will not be counted without the voter’s signature on the envelope,” reads the amendment.

Another amendment in the new law required election officers to contact the voter if the signature is missing on the ballot. The deadline for adding a signature to a ballot should be no later than 7 p.m. on Election Day.

Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez and Vice President Myron Lizer had urged Ducey to veto the measure, saying it would undermine the 2019 settlement.

Trump endorses Stefanik’s bid to oust Cheney from GOP leadership

Former president Donald Trump on Wednesday endorsed Representative Elise Stefanik (R., N.Y.) to replace Representative Liz Cheney (R-Wy.) as chair of the House Republican Conference as party leadership has reportedly sought to oust the Wyoming congresswoman from her leadership role in recent days.

Rep. Elise Stefanik R-NY portrait with flag

Rep. Elise Stefanik (R.-NY)

“Liz Cheney is a warmongering fool who has no business in Republican Party Leadership,” Trump said in a statement on his website. “We want leaders who believe in the Make America Great Again movement, and prioritize the values of America First. Elise Stefanik is a far superior choice, and she has my COMPLETE and TOTAL Endorsement for GOP Conference Chair. Elise is a tough and smart communicator!”

Stefanik thanked Trump for his support in a tweet on Wednesday, adding, “We are unified and focused on FIRING PELOSI & WINNING in 2022!”

National Review reports that Stefanik has also received support from the top two Republicans in the House for her bid to replace Cheney, a longtime critic of Trump and other conservatives. A spokeswoman for House GOP Whip Steve Scalise (R., La.) said Wednesday that the No. 2 Republican in the House “has pledged to support [Stefanik] for conference chair.”

“House Republicans need to be solely focused on taking back the House in 2022 and fighting against Speaker Pelosi and President Biden’s radical socialist agenda, and Elise Stefanik is strongly committed to doing that,” Scalise’s spokeswoman, Lauren Fine, said in a statement.

The renewed push to remove Cheney, the third-ranking GOP lawmaker in the House, from her leadership post comes after she told the New York Post last week that while she believes Republicans could take back the presidency in 2024, she thinks lawmakers who supported Trump’s effort to overturn the 2020 election results should be disqualified from running.

Cheney has drawn the ire of her Republican colleagues repeatedly since she voted in favor of Trump’s second impeachment but previously survived a secret ballot the House GOP conference conducted in February over whether to keep her in her post.  The conference voted 145–61 to keep Cheney in her leadership role at that time.

“This is about whether the Republican Party is going to perpetuate lies about the 2020 election and attempt to whitewash what happened on January 6,” Cheney spokesman Jeremy Adler said May 4. “Liz will not do that. That is the issue.”

(No, Jeremy, the issue is Liz Cheney’s leftist worldview and lack of veracity.)

Cheney, a daughter of Dick Cheney, who was George W. Bush’s vice president and before that a Wyoming congressman, seemed to have almost unlimited potential until this year. Her career began listing after she was among just 10 House Republicans to back Trump’s impeachment for inciting supporters to storm the Capitol on Jan. 6. The House GOP could hold a second vote to oust Cheney in the near future.

Posted May 5, 2021