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Under new law, Arizona voters can fix signatures on early ballots

(AP Photo)

PHOENIX – A new Arizona law should end early-voting ballot signature problems, an issue that has plagued recent elections.

Gov. Doug Ducey signed Senate Bill 1054, sponsored by Republican Michelle Ugenti-Rita of Scottsdale, into legislation this week.

County recorders will also be able to start counting mail-in ballots two weeks before Election Day. In the past, they had to wait until the week before voting day.

Voters whose signatures are in question will be contacted by election officials to make corrections to federal ballots. They will have up to five business days after the election to do so.

For other elections, the window is three days afterward.

Some counties, including Maricopa, had allowed the curing, others did not.

That became a problem during the 2018 elections during the hotly contested Senate race between Democrat Kyrsten Sinema and Republican Martha McSally.

GOP parties in four counties filed suit last November against Maricopa and Pima county election officials allowing voter to verify problematic signatures on ballots dropped off on Election Day.

The suit alleged that the state’s county recorders weren’t following a uniform standard for allowing voters to address problems with their early ballots. The paperwork also said Maricopa and Pima counties were improperly letting fixes be made up to five days after Election Day.

The lawsuit was settled without a hearing.

Fontes said in a Facebook video posted Tuesday, said he was “feeling very good for voters” and the law would lead to more votes being counted.

Reasons for a change in penmanship could include health or in general, a “signature changes (over time),” he said.

Ducey has signed other voting-related bills this year. Three weeks ago, he signed a law that required identification to cast a ballot at an early voting center.

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