Deadline looms for voter registration in Arizona

Arizonans have until Oct. 15 to register to vote in the upcoming election, following a court ruling.

PHOENIX – As of Oct. 14, Arizonans have about a day left to register to vote in the upcoming November election.

The new deadline came after a court ruling on Oct. 13, which overturned a ruling on Oct. 5 that extended the voter registration deadline from Oct. 5 to Oct. 23, because COVID-19 restrictions could have prevented voter registration efforts.

According to court documents related to the Oct. 13 ruling, two voter registration groups claim that following a state-mandated shutdown on Mar. 30 due to COVID-19, as few as 282 people were registered to vote in a week, during the months of restrictions that followed.

The new deadline to register to vote is Oct. 15, after the court gave a two-day grace period.

“With the two-day grace period, what that does is two things: it does give an opportunity for folks who haven’t quite registered to get registered in the next two days by 11:59 p.m. on the 15th, and it also in the court order provides a safe harbor for those who have already registered,” said election lawyer Tom Collins.

Arizona Secretary of State speaks out

In an interview with FOX 10 on Oct. 14, Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs says that the great thing was that voters had an extra ten days to register to vote. Certainty for voters was the biggest concern for Hobbs’ office, after their appeal of a lawsuit to extend the voter registration to what was Oct. 23. 

“[Oct. 15] is the deadline,” said Hobbs. “I think it provides the finality and certainty that voters need, and also the ability for election officials to conduct early voting in an orderly fashion.”

Hobbs says the previous deadline, being so late into October, would have caused problematic and administrative issues, causing voter registrations to not be processed. Oct. 23 was also the cutoff to request an early ballot to ensure timely delivery to vote. 

“In this process, voters would have been disenfranchised,” said Hobbs. “They wouldn’t have gotten mail-in ballot that they requested. They’re probably already casting provisional ballots because their ballots haven’t been processed, but they’re going to early vote.”

Since the extension of the voter registration deadline, there have reportedly been more than 26,000 new voter registrations.     
“We’re still seeing registrations coming in, obviously, and I think a little bit more heavily weighted towards Republicans, which is interesting because they’re the group that have appealed the decision,” said Hobbs.

FOX 10 Voter Guide: 2020 Arizona General Election

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