A federal appeals court will give Democrats a new chance to argue that an Arizona law banning “ballot harvesting” is illegal. In a brief order, the majority of the judges on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals said they want to review and reconsider a 2-1 ruling by one of their panels last year that upheld the 2016 law, which bars Arizonans from collecting and delivering the ballots of others. In that ruling, the majority brushed aside complaints from the state and federal Democratic parties that the Republican-controlled Legislature had no evidence of fraud from the practice. Nor were they persuaded by arguments that the restriction has a harsher effect on the voting rights of minorities than on Arizona residents in general.
Judge Sandra Ikuta, writing for the majority in that decision, did say there was reason to believe that the change was approved, at least in part, by “partisan considerations.” But Ikuta said that fact does not make the law unconstitutional.
The order does not mean that a full panel of 11 judges intends to override what Ikuta wrote for herself and Judge Carlos Bea. But it is relatively rare for the full court to grant such review.
No date has been set for a hearing.