PHOENIX – Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs today said the settlement reached in a lawsuit over the deadline to return early ballots is designed to keep voters informed and engaged.
At issue in the Voto Latino, et al. v. Hobbs suit is the law requiring that mail-in ballots must be received by county election officials before 7 p.m. on Election Day. The settlement reached leaves the Election Day deadline as it currently is, and the Secretary of State’s Office will continue and expand its efforts to address the factors the plaintiffs identified as contributing to late returns.
“We were able to come to an agreement quickly in this case because our office was already working on many of the initiatives being requested,” Hobbs said. “This settlement was possible because both sides share the same goal of ensuring voters have the ability to participate in a way that is meaningful to them.” The terms of the settlement include the Secretary of State’s commitment to:
- Conduct voter outreach and education about the Election Day Receipt Deadline in multiple languages;
- Launch a webpage dedicated to information about voting by mail, including the Election Day Receipt Deadline, ballot drop-box locations, and other ballot drop-off options; and
- Allocate funding for counties to increase early voting opportunities across the state.
In addition to these ongoing efforts, the settlement also commits the Secretary of State’s Office to studying the feasibility of implementing a postmark deadline in Arizona for future elections, including assessing the costs of bar code readers, the various ways that other states have successfully implemented post mark deadlines, and how such a process would apply to Arizona.
"The agreement is reflective of a shared commitment to safe, accessible, and accurate elections," Hobbs said. "I look forward to continuing this work in partnership with Voto Latino, Priorities USA, and other voting rights organizations throughout Arizona."