WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Saturday, Jan. 28, the Arizona Republican Party and its chair went to the Arizona Supreme Court after lower courts rejected their lawsuit seeking to end no-excuse mail-in voting.
Since 1991, Arizonans have enjoyed the option to vote by mail without needing to provide an excuse. The legislation enacting no-excuse mail-in voting proved popular, with nearly 90% of Arizonans voting early, the vast majority doing so by mail. However, since 2020, a surge of conspiracy theories have claimed that mail-in voting is a source of voter fraud, leading Republicans in Arizona to try and scale back the voting method via litigation and legislation.
In February 2022, the Arizona Republican Party filed its first lawsuit seeking to strike down the state’s 1991 no-excuse mail-in voting law, arguing that the state constitution does not allow for early or mail-in voting. The party filed its lawsuit directly in the Arizona Supreme Court, attempting to bypass the state trial court. In April 2022, the state’s highest court declined to take the case, saying it could not rule on the GOP’s allegations without the factual record that would be developed at the trial court level had the plaintiffs followed the standard legal process.
In May 2022, the Arizona GOP filed a second lawsuit seeking to ban no-excuse mail-in voting, this time at the proper trial court level. In June 2022, the trial court held that the no-excuse mail-in voting system does not violate the Arizona Constitution. Since there “is nothing in the Arizona Constitution which expressly prohibits the legislature from authoring new voting laws, including ‘no-excuse’ mail-in ballots,” the judge found that the Legislature was allowed to enact mail-in voting. An appellate court affirmed the dismissal earlier this month, and the state party appealed this decision to the Arizona Supreme Court over the weekend.