Arizona Court of Appeals Dismisses GOP Challenge to Mail-in Voting
WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Tuesday, Jan. 17, the Arizona Court of Appeals unanimously affirmed a trial court’s decision to dismiss a lawsuit brought by the Arizona Republican Party and its chairwoman challenging the state’s no-excuse mail-in voting system. Specifically, the plaintiffs alleged that Arizona’s mail-in voting system, which has been in place since 1991, violates the “Secrecy Clause” of the Arizona Constitution, which states “that secrecy in voting shall be preserved.” The plaintiffs argued that the Arizona Constitution requires in-person voting on specific days and, because mail-in voting does not follow these rules, the law is unconstitutional. In June 2022, an Arizona trial court rejected the plaintiffs’ request for relief and then dismissed the case, which the plaintiffs promptly appealed. The plaintiffs also requested that the case circumvent the typical appeals process and be heard by the Arizona Supreme Court before the Arizona Court of Appeals, but the Arizona Supreme Court denied the plaintiffs’ request. Today, the Arizona Court of Appeals unanimously rejected Arizona Republicans’ request to invalidate the state’s mail-in voting system.
In today’s opinion, the court wrote that Arizona’s mail-in voting laws “ensure that voters fill out their ballot in a manner that does not disclose their vote and that voters’ choices are not later revealed,” meaning that the system does not violate the “Secrecy Clause” of the Arizona Constitution as alleged by the plaintiffs. The court explained how secrecy is protected in the mail-in voting process: “At no point can the voter’s identifying information on their ballot envelope be lawfully connected with their vote. These protections are adequate to ensure the preservation of secrecy in voting.” The court added that the Arizona Legislature “is free to adopt the more stringent requirements urged by Plaintiffs, but it is not constitutionally required to do so.” Notably, this is Arizona Republicans’ second failed attempt to challenge this no-excuse mail-in voting system in court. Today’s unanimous decision is a victory for Arizona voters — a majority of whom vote by mail — who will continue to benefit from Arizona’s robust mail-in voting system.