PHOENIX — Arizonans who want to vote this election may now have only through Friday to get signed up.
In an agreement filed late Tuesday, the lawyers who brought the original lawsuit challenging the state’s Oct. 5 deadline and Secretary of State Katie Hobbs agreed to a legal “stay” of a decision by U.S. District Court Judge Murray Snow. He had given voters until Oct. 23.
The deal, if it is blessed by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, rolls that back to 11:59 p.m. this Friday.
It also contains another provision that spells out that anyone who registered after Oct. 5 — as Snow allowed — will get to keep their right to vote on Nov. 3 despite missing the original deadline. The only requirement is that their registration forms must “reach county election offices by that Friday night deadline.
So far, according to data compiled Tuesday by Hobbs’ office, there were 26,652 new names added to the registration list since Oct. 5. That includes 8,317 Republicans, 6,237 Democrats, 393 Libertarians and 11,705 not affiliated with any recognized political party.
On top of that, another 74,035 people used window the opportunity to update their registrations. That can include changing parties and updating addresses.
The deal, however, may not be the last word.
Late Tuesday, Attorney General Mark Brnovich told the court that he — and not Hobbs — represents the state.
“The secretary of state has no authority to bind either the state of Arizona nor the independently elected (and unnamed) county recorders, who would be responsible for implementing the injunction issued by the district court,” he said. And Brnovich took a slap at Hobbs, saying her decision to settle “illustrates the secretary’s representation of the state’s interests is inadequate.”
He’s not the only one unhappy.
Attorney Kory Langhofer representing the Republican National Committee and the National Republican Senatorial Committee, filed his own objection.
Langhofer not only wants the court to reject the deal but totally overturn Snow’s ruling and declare that he had no authority to void the Oct. 5 sign-up deadline. In fact, Langhofer wants the appellate judges to rule that anyone who has signed up since cannot vote next month, even though they were relying on Snow’s order.
Snow issued his ruling earlier this month following a complaint by Mi Familia Vota and the Arizona Coalition for Change that the COVID-19 outbreak and the resultant travel and gathering restrictions imposed in March by Gov. Doug Ducey curtailed their ability to sign up new voters. He agreed to add an extra 2 1/2 weeks to help compensate.
At a hearing Monday, two of the appellate judges expressed doubts about the legality of Snow’s ruling. But rather than decide the issue, they directed the attorneys to work out something themselves.
The question now is whether the court will accept the deal, given that the plaintiffs who brought the challenge and the secretary of state, who was the sole named defendant, have agreed.
Snow had granted Langhofer’s clients legal status as “intervenors” in the case, giving them a legal voice.
The issue with Brnovich is more complicated, as he never joined the original lawsuit when it was before Snow. It was only after that ruling that the attorney general told the appellate judges that he, too, wants to intervene, a motion that the court has yet to consider.