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A lawsuit against the current Arizona Elections Manual may have merit

A practice used by Arizona counties to verify signatures may be illegal. A lawsuit challenging the most recent version of the state’s Elections Procedures Manual may have some merit. 

The law states that when verifying ballot signatures, they must only be compared with what’s on a voter’s registration record.

The recent manual allows county recorders to use other official election documents, like previous ballot envelopes, as well. The Arizona secretary of state argues that these other documents are within the definition of a "registration record.”

Pima County Recorder Gabriella Cazares-Kelly says additional documents help when voter registration cards are decades old.

"You will change your signature a number of times throughout your life," Cazares-Kelly said.

The judge refused to dismiss the lawsuit. He says a registration record consists only of the document signed when a person first registered, along with changes like altering party affiliation. No final order has been issued.

Jill Ryan joined KJZZ in 2020 as a morning reporter, and she is currently a field correspondent and Morning Edition producer.