PHOENIX – Attorney General Mark Brnovich's office filed a motion with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals this afternoon seeking to stay the Court's recent mandate while the Attorney General seeks Supreme Court review.
"It's unfair to Arizona voters to have outside groups dismantle the integrity of our elections," said Attorney General Brnovich. "The Ninth Circuit took the unusual step of overruling multiple previous rulings in the State's favor, thereby rejecting Arizona's authority to secure its elections and discourage potential voter fraud. Today's filing is the first step in seeking a full review and decision from the Supreme Court."
Before the 2016 election, the U.S. Supreme Court stayed the Ninth Circuit's election-eve injunction against the enforcement of Arizona's prohibition of ballot harvesting and out-of-precinct voting following a lawsuit filed by the Democratic National Committee, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, and the Arizona Democratic Party. The State then prevailed at trial.
Arizona's brief explains that the Ninth Circuit is wrong. The brief further points to the recent, well-publicized, ballot harvesting scandal in North Carolina during the last election cycle that ultimately led to an election being thrown out as proof that the Arizona Legislature's concerns for potential voter fraud are not unfounded.
The Attorney General's Office also argues that if a stay is not granted, confusion and chaos could result in Arizona's 2020 Presidential Preference Election (PPE). The Ninth Circuit has not issued an injunction or final judgment, creating the possibility that the injunction or final judgment could be issued in the middle of the PPE, creating additional voter confusion. The first ballots for the PPE will have gone out by February 1, with additional ballots going out no later than February 19. Additional elections are scheduled for May 19, August 4, and November 3, 2020. A stay of the mandate will maintain status quo and allow the Supreme Court to review the case and avoid voter confusion in the midst of ongoing elections.
Ten other states have "substantially similar" ballot harvesting laws to Arizona's that could be invalidated. Nine states impose other regulations on ballot harvesting, including California. 25 other states have similar out-of-precinct laws to Arizona's.