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Arizona 'ballot harvesting' ban will stay in effect when Democrats vote

The Arizona law banning so-called ballot harvesting will remain in effect at least through the state's presidential primary next month.

A divided 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last month that the four-year-old law, which prohibits collecting and returning the mail-in ballots of a non-family member, was enacted with discriminatory intent in violation of constitutional protections and the Voting Rights Act.

The appeals court also struck down another section of the law, allowing election officials to discard ballots cast at the wrong precinct. State and national Democratic campaign committees challenged the law in court following its enactment in 2016 by the Republican-controlled Legislature.

On Tuesday, however, the 9th Circuit agreed to delay its order while Republican state Attorney General Mark Brnovich appeals to the Supreme Court.

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Not from here? Then don't send political donations, Arizona lawmaker says

While more and more states and localities are moving to ban foreigners from influencing their elections, one Arizona lawmaker wants to take it a step further.

Republican state Rep. Bob Thorpe is not as concerned about people from other countries as he is with people from other states. So last week he proposed legislation banning contributions to legislative and ballot initiative campaigns from anybody outside Arizona.

A similar measure in South Dakota has been struck down as an unconstitutional restriction on speech, while a version in Alaska has been tied up in litigation for years.

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Arizona 'ballot harvesting' ban is discriminatory, court rules

An Arizona law banning a third party from returning another person's mail-in ballot was contrived to suppress minority voting in violation of the Voting Rights Act, a federal appeals court ruled Monday.

The practice of so-called ballot harvesting — often practiced by campaign volunteers and staff — was banned by the state's Republican-controlled Legislature in 2016 but later challenged in court on the grounds it was a deliberate attempt to stifle minority voters.

The lawsuit, filed by state and national Democratic party committees, also challenged Arizona's policy of discarding votes cast in the wrong precinct. The committees claims that is another voter suppression tactic.

On Monday, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals agreed, ruling 7-4 that discarding out-of-precinct votes and banning ballot collection violated federal law and were a continuation of the state's long history of voter discrimination.

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Arizona must upgrade its systems this month because it had not been in compliance with federal law that requires states update voter registration information when a person changes their address on a driver's license or state-issued ID card.

Arizona will upgrade voter registration services to settle a lawsuit

Arizona has agreed to improve its voter registration services as part of a lawsuit settlement reached with voting rights groups.

The arrangement, announced Monday, could boost turnout in one of the nation's fastest growing and politically competitive states, where this fall both parties will be hotly contesting not only nine electoral votes in the presidential race but also a Senate seat and at least three House races.

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