WASHINGTON D.C.—The Arizona State Legislature passed a strict mail ballot bill Thursday afternoon. SB 1003, which was thought to be tabled but was revived in the final days of the legislative session, would require any ballot arriving without a signature be fixed—also known as “cured”—by 7:00 PM on Election Day. If a missing signature is not cured by this new deadline, the ballot will be thrown out. This rule stands in stark contrast to the current law surrounding “mismatched” signatures—signatures on a mail ballot that an election official decided does not match the voter’s signature on file. For mismatched signatures, voters have until the fifth business day after an election to fix their signatures and have their ballots count.
If enacted, SB 1003 would legislatively overrule a 2020 court victory where a judge ruled in favor of the DNC, DSCC, and Arizona Democratic Party, ordering Arizona election officials to allow ballots with missing signatures until 5:00 PM on the fifth business day after an election to cure their ballot. The bill will now go to the Governor’s desk for signature, and, if signed, will likely again be subject to a court challenge.