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Yavapai County judge rules early ballot drop boxes are legal

A Yavapai County judge has blocked efforts from a group seeking to make the use of early-ballot drop boxes illegal. 

Judge John Napper says state law allows boxes to be staffed by “certain election officials.” 

That term, however, is not defined in the Elections Procedures Manual, which gives counties election guidance.

He added the EPM does allow counties to set up drop boxes not continuously monitored by staff. He cited a portion that states the boxes must have fire suppression devices when not in sight of officials.

An attorney for the Arizona Free Enterprise Club argued the manual has to follow state law, and nothing in state law allows for unmonitored drop boxes.

Napper said the Legislature had the opportunity to make the boxes illegal when addressing statutes after the manual was released but never did.

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Greg Hahne started as a news intern at KJZZ in 2020 and returned as a field correspondent in 2021. He learned his love for radio by joining Arizona State University's Blaze Radio, where he worked on the production team.