As 2024 approaches, there are still many questions concerning election integrity, particularly in battleground states such as Arizona. Thankfully, it seems some progress is being made on that front, thanks to a recent court ruling.
On Friday, Yavapai County Superior Court Judge John Napper ruled that Secretary of State Adrian Fontes and his office violated Arizona state law concerning mail-in ballots and how the signatures on such are verified.
The case was brought against Fontes by the public interest group Restoring Integrity and Trust in Elections or RITE. According to them, Fontes’ office was not following procedure when verifying the signatures on most mail-in ballots.
“While state law requires county recorders to match mail-ballot signatures with signatures in the voter’s ‘registration record,’ the Secretary instructed them to use a broader and less reliable universe of comparison signatures.”
Basically, the Secretary had his office verify signatures, but the ones on the ballots were not compared to the correct signatures – the ones on the voter’s registration record. Instead, other signatures, supposedly by the same voter, were used.
As RITE claimed, “This was a clear violation of state law.”
And it seems Judge Napper agrees.
In his Friday ruling, he stated the “statute is clear and unambiguous,” maintaining “the recorder to review the voter’s registration card” and not other documents with the voter’s signature. Some of those signatures used for comparison were found on documents that didn’t even have to do with “the act of registering.”
Read the ruling issued by the Superior Court for the County of Yavapai backing RITE’s argument that @AZSecretary needs to update the Arizona elections manual to comply with state law. https://t.co/HXwr2Taygh pic.twitter.com/HAkZsvGLZa
— Restoring Integrity and Trust in Elections (RITE) (@Restoring_USA) September 5, 2023
Naturally, RITE and its CEO and president Derek Lyons was overjoyed by the win, asserting that it is just the beginning and promising that his group will “continue to fight in court for elections that are administered according to democratically enacted laws, not illegal partisan commands.”
Now, if only other judges and courts would rule in integrity’s favor in Arizona and other states. Perhaps we can finally get back to safe and secure elections that Americans can trust one of these days.