elections office

A precinct tabulation machine sits in the Cochise County Elections Office warehouse.

PHOENIX (AP) — The court-ordered extension of Arizona's voter registration deadline remains in place — at least for now.

An appeals court has rejected a bid by Republican organizations to put on hold a ruling that pushed back Arizona’s voter registration deadline from Monday to Oct. 23 because of the pandemic.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday declined the request by the Republican National Committee and National Republican Senatorial Committee, saying it had doubts about the groups’ ability as private parties to try to get the lower-court ruling put on hold while they appeal the decision.

But the appeals court said it will reconsider the request once it rules on the state of Arizona’s request to join the Republican groups in the appeal.

Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, who is the target of the lawsuit, has said she wouldn’t appeal the decision. Republican Attorney General Mark Brnovich has asked the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to let it join the appeal.

Earlier this week, U.S. District Judge Steven Logan ruled the pandemic has undermined the integrity of the election by preventing a portion of the population from registering to vote and concluded that extending the deadline would let the voices of those people be heard.

Two advocacy groups seeking to register voters had asked the court to extend the deadline, saying its registration numbers plummeted because of the COVID-19 restrictions, though those figures have returned to almost the same level as before the pandemic.

If the extension were to remain in place and registrations stayed at their current rate, it’s estimated an additional 65,000 people would register to vote. 

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