A new lawsuit seeks to block Arizona from enforcing its ban on “ballot harvesting” for the upcoming election, claiming the state has no legal authority to regulate who can and cannot deliver someone else’s mail. In legal papers filed in federal court here Tuesday, attorney Spencer Scharff is arguing that only Congress has the right to regulate the U.S. mail. And he said that once someone puts a ballot into an envelope which has prepaid postage on it, it becomes “mail.” What all that means, said Scharff, is a 2016 statutes that makes it a felony to collect early ballots and deliver them to polling places is preempted by federal law. And he is asking U.S. District Court Judge Douglas Rayes to put the law on “hold” until there can be a full hearing on the issue.
There was no immediate response from Attorney General Mark Brnovich who is named as defendant in the lawsuit. Rayes is scheduled to talk with attorneys from both sides about the lawsuit this coming week.
The law at the heart of the litigation is aimed at what has been called “ballot harvesting,” offering to return the early ballots that people had been sent but forgotten to mail back.
Until 2016, both major parties had engaged in some form of the practice. But it was the Democrats and political allies who were more active, going out and canvassing neighborhoods, particularly in Democratic areas, to boost voter turnout.