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Ducey signs bill designed to fix discrepancies with early ballots

Voters wait in line at dawn to cast their ballot in Arizona's presidential primary election, Tuesday, March 22, 2016, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)

(AP Photo/Matt York)

Gov. Doug Ducey signed legislation to give Arizona voters a chance to fix problems with the early ballots in the days after an election.

At issue are the signatures on early ballot envelopes, which election officials use as verification by matching the signature with ones they have on file. If the signature is flagged, some counties have allowed voters to provide an explanation or proof that the ballot is theirs to ensure their vote counts.

Some, but not all counties have allowed this “ballot curing” process to continue after election day, a practice that drew scrutiny from the Arizona Republican Party during the 2018 general election.

Following a lawsuit, an agreement was reached that required all 15 county recorders to allow ballots to be cured for a certain number of days after the election in November.

SB1054, sponsored by Scottsdale Republican Michelle Ugenti-Rita, establishes that practice in state law.

County recorders will have to give voters up to five business days after election day to cure ballots cast in elections with a federal race on the ballot. And they’ll have to proactively contact the voter to let them know there’s a discrepancy and allow the voter to correct the signature.

In all other elections, voters will be given a three-day cure period.

SB1054 also gives county recorders the authority to start counting mail-in ballots an extra week before election day. Before, election officials had to wait to start counting early ballots until seven days prior to election day. Now they’ll have two weeks to tally early ballots before the election concludes.

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