A federal judge rejected a bid by Democrats to force counties to tally the votes of people who show up at the wrong polling place. In his ruling late Tuesday, Judge Douglas Rayes acknowledged that Arizona has a history of discrimination in voting practices. But Rayes said challengers, led by the state and national Democratic parties, failed to show that the current restrictions affect minorities any more than the population as a whole. This is the second defeat for the Democrats. Rayes had earlier refused to block the state from enforcing its new law making it a felony for individuals to collect early ballots from others and bring them to the polling place. On Tuesday the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals refused to disturb that ruling.
At issue in the latest ruling is what happens when people show up at polling places on Election Day but their names are not on the list of those registered to vote there.
If the would-be voter is simply at the wrong place, poll workers can direct them to where they need to go. But voters who insist they are registered and entitled to vote are given a “provisional ballot.”
After other ballots are counted, county election officials go through their records to see if, in fact, that person was entitled to vote at that place. If not, the ballots are not counted.