Some county officials in Arizona will have until the middle of next week to resolve issues with mail-in ballots for the state’s tight Senate race.
Under an agreement announced Friday by an Arizona judge, county recorders in rural Arizona will have time to allow people to “cure” issues with signatures that do not match their mail-in ballots, The Associated Press reported.
The agreement comes after Republicans sought to get a court to stop Maricopa and Pima counties from allowing the mail-in ballots there to be fixed after the polls closed Tuesday. Those counties, which include Phoenix and Tucson, respectively, were expected to be more favorable to the Democratic nominee, Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, in her race against GOP Rep. Martha McSally for the seat vacated by retiring Republican Sen. Jeff Flake.
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According to local TV stations including WPHO in Phoenix, a judge in Maricopa County made a formal announcement of the agreement, which ensures each of the 15 counties in the state will be operating under the same regulations for resolving signature mismatches.
“The county recorder defendants must permit voters to cure early ballots until 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018. ‘Cure’ means the same governmental acts taken prior to the general election to allow a voter to confirm their early-ballot vote,” said the court announcement, according to the TV stations.
Sinema took a lead in the race late Thursday as ballots continued to be counted, a process that could take well into next week. Her lead was holding as of Friday afternoon.
Not long before the judge’s announcement, national Republican groups were criticizing the different rules that appeared to apply to the more and less populous counties in Arizona.
“Election officials in Maricopa and Pima counties are being allowed to play by a different set of rules than the rest of the state, being granted special permission to personally follow up with voters whose signatures on their ballots don’t match the signature on their voter registration forms,” National Republican Senatorial Committee spokesman Calvin Moore said.
President Donald Trump joined in the fray as well.
“Just out — in Arizona, SIGNATURES DON’T MATCH. Electoral corruption — Call for a new Election? We must protect our Democracy!” he said during a Twitter barrage Friday while on the way to Paris.