State of Arizona

Arizona Signature Verification Challenge

Arizona Free Enterprise Club v. Fontes

Lawsuit filed by the Arizona Free Enterprise Club, Restoring Integrity and Trust in Elections (RITE) — a right-wing legal group founded by Bill Barr and others — and a voter against Arizona Secretary of State Adrian Fontes (D). Arizona voters who cast an early mail-in ballot must sign an affidavit attesting to their identity; this signature is then compared to prior signatures in the voter’s record to confirm a match. The plaintiffs allege that the secretary of state’s interpretation of Arizona’s 2019 Election Procedures Manual (EPM) governing signature matching procedures violates state law. Specifically, the plaintiffs argue that county recorders are comparing signatures on early mail-in ballot envelopes from prior elections with the voter’s signature on their current mail-in ballot envelopes in violation of Arizona law, which allegedly requires comparing signatures from a voter’s registration. The plaintiffs request that the secretary be prevented from “enforcing or implementing any provision of the EPM that instructs county recorders to validate early ballot affidavit signatures by reference to documents—including without limitation polling place signature rosters and historical early ballot affidavits—that are not a ‘registration record.’” The plaintiffs also ask the court to invalidate any portions of the EPM that direct this type of signature verification.

On April 25, 2024, a judge granted Secretary Fontes’ and Arizona Alliance for Retired Americans and Voto Latino’s motions for summary judgment. The EPM’s signature matching procedures remain in effect.

STATUS: On June 5, the plaintiffs appealed the decision dismissing the case.

Case Documents

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