There’s a court battle going on over Arizona’s law that allows provisional ballots cast in elections to be disqualified, or thrown out. Voters might have to use a provisional ballot if their voter registration is not up to date or they lost their early ballot or they go to the wrong polling place. A federal appeals court is deciding whether to force the state to count provisional ballots cast in the wrong precinct. In Arizona voters have to vote in the precinct assigned to their residential address. The three-judge panel heard arguments Wednesday, Oct. 26. A lawyer for state and national Democrats told the panel nearly 11,000 voters in Arizona had their provisional ballots disqualified in the last presidential election because they voted in the wrong place, and that it affects minority voters more often than not. The Democrats said throwing out the ballots disenfranchises voters and is unconstitutional. The state argued that counting the ballots would be unfair to candidates in local races.
The state of Arizona told the judges it would be extremely difficult to count ballots cast by voters who cast their ballots in the wrong precinct. Pima County Recorder F. Ann Rodriguez said most problems that lead to a voter having to vote a provisional ballot are preventable.
Rodriguez said many of the problems stem from voters neglecting to update their registration information after they move. She said voters who have not updated their addresses may contact her office for guidance. “We’re sending those people to our early voting sites so they can update their address right there on the spot and then we issue them a ballot. Otherwise, those people will be going to their new polling location on Election Day. They’re going to be filling out paperwork. It slows the process down,” Rodriguez said.