(Update: On October 7, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich announced on Twitter that his office filed an emergency motion with the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals "to defend Arizona’s long-standing voter registration deadline. See the tweet below the article:)
In a pivotal ruling issued late on October 5, a federal judge ordered that Arizona's voter registration deadline be pushed back from October 5 to October 23.
The Republican National Committee is appealing the ruling.
In late September, the nonprofit groups Mi Familia Vota and Arizona Coalition for Change (along with an organizer with the former organization) filed a complaint against Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, alleging that Arizona's existing October 5 voter registration deadline would violate First and Fourteenth Amendment rights due to the disruptive impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
United States District Court Judge Steven P. Logan agreed, siding with the plaintiffs' arguments. He cited data provided by the plaintiffs showing that they could not register the same number of voters during the pandemic months in comparison with the pre-coronavirus era — to the tune of roughly 282 voters and 1,523 voters per week respectively.
"While this Court acknowledges the efforts made by the Secretary and the State to make voter registration easier, the Court is also cognizant of the large population of Arizona that lacks access to the internet. Registering to vote has never been easier for some, though others are not so fortunate," Logan wrote, referring to the state's argument that registering to vote has "has never been easier" due to the internet. "Ballot access is an extremely important right, and it has been restricted during this unprecedented time."
"The Court takes note that 31 other states have later voter deadlines than Arizona, many of which allow voters to register when they show up to vote on Election Day," he added. "The Court agrees with Plaintiffs’
point made in oral argument that voter confusion will be minimal. Voters who are already registered will not need to bother with the new deadline, and those voters that were unable to register before October 5, 2020 now have extra time. The Court acknowledges the difficulty with early voting requests coming in after the deadline for early voting has passed, and notes that Plaintiffs admitted during oral argument that even a shorter extension would help cure their harm.
Logan went on to order the Secretary of State to "direct the County Recorders to accept all voter registration applications received by 5:00 p.m. on October 23, 2020 and process them in time for eligible voters to vote in the November 3, 2020 general election."
The ruling was quickly met by a rebuttal from lawyers representing the Republican National Committee, who filed an appeal, the Arizona Republic reports. Both the Republican National Committee and the National Republican Senatorial Committee had previously filed motions to intervene in response to the plaintiffs' original complaint back on October 2, per Logan's ruling.
Read the full ruling, and update, below:
Update: On October 7, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich announced on Twitter that his office filed an emergency motion with the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals "to defend Arizona’s long-standing voter registration deadline. Courts should not change laws on the eve of an election. Creating chaos and confusion for voters helps no one."
We filed an emergency motion with the Ninth Circuit last night to defend Arizona’s long-standing voter registration deadline. Courts should not change laws on the eve of an election. Creating chaos and confusion for voters helps no one. pic.twitter.com/axkLkBmxbb— Mark Brnovich (@GeneralBrnovich) October 7, 2020