PHOENIX — Saying it doesn't place an undue burden on voters, a federal judge this morning refused to block the state from enforcing its controversial law against "ballot harvesting'' this coming election.
U.S. District Court Judge Douglas Rayes acknowledged that limiting who a voter can give his or her completed early ballot to for delivery might cause an inconvenience. But he said that hardly infringes on the person's rights, given all the other options for voting, both in person and by mail.
Rayes also did not dispute arguments by challengers that there are no confirmed cases of fraud from ballot harvesting.
The judge said, however, the state does not have to provide such proof. He said the mere fact that absentee voting presents a greater opportunity for fraud is sufficient justification for the restriction.
And Rayes said the state's interests in ensuring fair election give lawmakers fairly broad latitude in enacting what he said are minimal restrictions like these.
Today's order does not end the legal fight. Instead, Rayes simply refused to enjoin election officials from enforcing the law while the case makes its way through the legal system.
But the judge, in his ruling, also said it is unlikely the challengers will succeed in their claims even after a full trial.