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Appeals Court Mulls Arizona Ballot Count Rules

Andy Cross, The Denver Post

A federal appeals court panel is considering whether to order Arizona to count ballots cast by voters in the wrong precinct as requested in a lawsuit by some voters and the state and national Democratic parties.

A lawyer representing the voters and the party said a district court judge got it wrong when he ruled that Arizona has a valid reason not to count the ballots because local races are involved. Attorney Elisabeth Frost made the arguments Wednesday before a 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel.

She told the panel that nearly 11,000 voters had their ballots tossed in the 2012 presidential election because they voted in the wrong polling place. She says the practice affects minorities more often than white voters and should be barred.

An attorney for the state of Arizona told the panel it would be extremely difficult to count ballots cast by voters in the wrong precinct. An attorney for the state Republican Party said ordering such a count would be unfair to local candidates.

Democrats are also challenging a law banning ballot collection and want an extra day of voter registration. Rulings in all three challenges could come at any time.

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