COVID-19 and extreme partisanship have made the Nov. 3 election season surreal. Some states have chosen to take mail-in voting to extremes that are likely to cause extended counting and problems that will end up in court. In Arizona, however, many people vote by mail in a proven system that requires voters to request a ballot in advance. Our state seems to avoid some of the craziness that exists elsewhere. Until this week, that is.
Arizona law stops voter registration a month before an election. The date for that was Monday. However, two groups filed a lawsuit and got a federal judge, U.S. District Judge Steven P. Logan, to extend the registration deadline until Oct. 23.
The reason given was that the pandemic inhibited registration efforts. Registration is done easily online, but not everyone has access to that. The groups Mi Familia Vota and Arizona Coalition for Change said health restrictions had hindered their efforts. However, registration never was stopped.
State government is more bipartisan now than it was a few years ago. Democrat Katie Hobbs, the secretary of state, is in charge of elections. And she opposed the change, saying handling registrations at the same time as early ballots are processed would be too challenging. The suit asked for a cutoff of Oct. 27, but the judge chose Oct. 23, which is the deadline for requesting an early ballot.
Hobbs is not pursuing the matter further, citing a need to establish clarity, although the Republican Party is appealing.
This is not a time for causing more confusion. The election is on Nov. 3, and registration, as well as voting, have been easy in Arizona and did not require an extension. Challenges that could well string out the process beyond Nov. 3 are not beneficial. Arizonans, and all Americans, want to know who won the election races as soon as possible and not have judges decide the outcome.