Friday, August 14, 2020

BREAKING: U.S. Postal Service Gives Arizona "Heightened Warning" Re: Election Mail; Hobbs Gets Attorney General Involved (READ Warning)

The U.S. Postal Service is warning Arizona that it may not be able to get ballots to voters on time if they request them close to the election. Arizona law has long given voters until 11 days before the election to REQUEST an absentee ballot by mail. 

The "heightened warning" was to Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs is dated July 29, 2020 and were first reported earlier today by the Washington Post. Arizona's laws are not an exception; 39 other states received similar warnings.

The letter - which Arizona's Politics received this afternoon from the Secretary of State, and is published below - indicates that the USPS's legal team analyzed Arizona's early ballot statutes and, combined with USPS delivery time ranges, presents a "significant risk that, at least in certain circumstances, ballots may be requested in a manner that is consistent with your election rules and returned promptly, and yet not be returned in time to be counted." (emphasis added)

That is not to say that the Postal Service is worried about the large majority of Arizona mail-in ballots. Most of those ballots are mailed by the County Elections Departments four weeks before the November 3 Election Day. Even with the longest delivery range of 10 days, that gives those voters plenty of time to vote and return it. (They do NOT have to return it by mail, but many do.)

It is those voters who decide to request a one-time absentee ballot in mid- to late-October who are the main concern. Arizona law (A.R.S. Sec. 16-542(E)) gives them until October 24 to request a ballot (for this election). The County then has two days to mail it out. If the Postal Service is slow, the voter may not receive it by Election Day. And, even if she receives it quickly, votes and decides to return it by mail, that ballot may not get there by November 3.

Hobbs today called on Attorney General Mark Brnovich to immediately have his Election Integrity Unit investigate the situation, especially in light of recent comments by President Donald Trump. She tweeted out that letter earlier today, and it is also published below.

Hobbs tells Arizona's Politics "We are preparing to meet this challenge. The good news is that Arizona has a tried and true ballot-by-mail process, and for years we have been encouraging voters to mail their ballots back early. Since receiving this letter, we have revised our recommendation and are now encouraging voters to mail ballots by Oct. 27 to help ensure it arrives on time.  We are also increasing the number of secure drop-boxes across our state, and reminding voters that they can always skip ahead at any voting location to drop off a ballot-by-mail. This ongoing situation is a perfect example of why we need to make sure voters know what their options are.”

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