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Brnovich Asks For Stay Of Ballot Collection Decision

Mark Brnovich
Howard Fischer/Capitol Media Services
Mark Brnovich

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to put a stay on a lower court decision striking down a state election law banning third parties from collecting ballots for people.

In years past, political organizations and Native American tribes would collect mail-in ballots and drop them off at precincts before or on Election Day. State lawmakers banned the practice in 2016.

Earlier this week, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the ban. If the decision holds, these groups could again collect mail-in ballots, including during the Presidential Preference Election in March.

Brnovich, a Republican, has said he intends to appeal the 9th Circuit’s ruling. While he puts that together, he wants the Supreme Court to stop any change.

“The Ninth Circuit took the unusual step of overruling multiple previous rulings in the State's favor,” Brnovich said in a statement. “Thereby rejecting Arizona's authority to secure its elections and discourage potential voter fraud.”

In his brief, Brnovich’s office said there’s good reason the court will side with him in the eventual appeal, and that there is potential for voter confusion if the stay does not come quickly.

Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, a Democrat, said on Wednesday that she’s against any appeal of the 9th Circuit’s ruling. She voted against the ban when she was in the state Legislature.

“I will continue to condemn any efforts to create unnecessary barriers to voting, especially when those obstacles are based on hyperbolic fears,” she said in a statement.

Bret Jaspers was a senior field correspondent at KJZZ from 2017 to 2020.