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Ducey signs bill limiting post-election ballot signature fix

May 7, 2021 GMT

PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona election officials won’t be able to create a grace period after an election for voters who forget to sign their ballot to fix the problem.

Gov. Doug Ducey on Friday signed a bill requiring any mail ballots to be signed by 7 p.m. on election day to be counted. The measure was approved in the Legislature in party-line votes.

It codifies in state law the rules as implemented for the 2020 election and blocks a five-day curing period after the election, which Secretary of State Katie Hobbs tried unsuccessfully to implement to settle a lawsuit filed by the Navajo Nation. Before 2020, policies for handling missing signatures varied by county.

Voting rights advocates condemned the legislation and urged Ducey to veto it.

The measure would require county election officials to notify voters who fail to sign their ballots. But critics say those who return them on Election Day or shortly before would not have time to fix the problem. Voters who do sign their ballots but have the signature rejected because it doesn’t closely match the one on file would still get five days after the election to resolve the issue.